It is repulsive to think that a people of several millions, honeycombed with representatives of international organizations, the virtual stepchild of the United Nations, appears doomed to reduce its national fever by letting blood. The 700,000 refugees of 1948, hothoused by the UN relief agencies, prevented from emigrating by other Arab regimes, have turned into a people, but a test-tube nation incapable of independent national life: four destitute millions of third-generation refugees in the small and barren territories of Gaza, Judea and Samaria, which cannot support a fraction of that number.
The project of a Palestinian economy based on tourism and light manufacturing is a delusion in the globalized economy of Chinese-dominated trade in manufactures. The subsistence-farming fellahin should have left their land for economic reasons, like the Okies during the 1920s and 1930s, and dispersed into cities, like a hundred other rural populations of the so-called developing world. Kept hostage for political reasons, they cannot stay, and they cannot leave. They have chosen instead to fight, and if need be to die.
The Palestinians cannot hope to earn their keep in peacetime; their only hope is to keep the region in perpetual tension, the better to blackmail the West and the Arab Persian Gulf states for subsidies. Voting for Hamas, in other words, was a rational choice on strictly economic grounds. Economics was an afterthought, though. Without a viable alternative, the Palestinians might as well choose the leadership that best flatters their national feeling. Now this balancing act has broken down, largely because Iran has disrupted the fragile equilibrium among Palestinian factions. By turning to Tehran for funding, Hamas has made itself an outlaw, and the West as well as Saudi Arabia has no alternative but to support violent means to reduce a democratically chosen majority party.
Article also has an interesting perspective on Carter.