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A harsh but much-needed dose of Middle East reality from Barbara Lerner, as mainstream media executes a full court press to sell the brand new, sparkling clean Palestinian Authority: Collapsing Temples in Gaza.

Some 3,000 years ago, Samson brought down the Philistine temple in Gaza, and this month, Gaza stands a good chance of bringing down the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Israeli parliament members who oppose Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan — and/or the undemocratic way he and his new, left-wing allies are trying to impose it on the nation — plan to vote “no” on his budget. Under Israeli law, if the budget is not passed by March 31, the government falls and new elections must be held.

If that happens, it will come as a shock to most Americans, because they have been seduced by the happy talk of media Delilahs, here and in Israel, into believing that since Arafat’s death, Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere have embraced the idea of peace and democracy, and that only a small minority of Israeli fanatics oppose the retreat from Gaza. Both of these beliefs are patently false, and the pretense that what is happening in the Holy Land bears resemblance to the genuine peace and democracy movements struggling to be born in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran is proof that Samson was hardly the last man to be eyeless in Gaza.

PEACE AND DEMOCRACY, PALESTINIAN STYLE

Here, first, is the way Palestinian Arabs have manifested their alleged embrace of peace and democracy in the months since Mahmoud Abbas replaced Yasser Arafat. Abbas was elected last January 9 with 62 percent of the vote, but, as Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki clearly shows, this was not a vote against terror: Two thirds of Palestinians still see terror as an effective weapon, and they give all credit for Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza to the terrorists.

Hamas, the largest of the many Palestinian terrorist groups, boycotted the election, claiming it was based on the “illegal” Oslo “peace,” but they did field candidates in the municipal election for control of Gaza on January 27, winning 77 out of the 118 seats — a victory margin of 67 percent. This huge Palestinian terror majority makes no secret of the fact that they intend to drive Jews out of Israel and Americans out of the Middle East. They are closely allied with all the other terrorist groups in the region, and with all the terror-sponsoring states. During both Iraq wars, they marched in support of Saddam Hussein; today, they march for Syria, and for Hezbollah, along with allied Palestinian terror groups like Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the terror wing of Abbas’s own party, Fatah.

On March 11, there was a big pro-Syrian demonstration in Gaza. Thousands of armed, masked Palestinians waved Palestinian flags tied to Syrian and Lebanese ones. They burned American and Israeli flags, along with effigies of George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon, with the caption “You have no place here.” As usual, they all screamed “Death to America” and “Itbah al Yahud” (“Kill the Jews”), as well as “Yes, yes,” to Syria and Hezbollah.

Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, the man our press keeps assuring us is “a moderate,” has made no move to disarm these men or the hundreds of thousands of others like them who form a majority of all Palestinians in the West Bank as well as Gaza. Instead, he proposes to integrate gunmen who are not already members of the Palestinian security forces into their ranks, arming and training them with huge new infusions of American and European cash.

Read it all and weep if you still have tears.

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