Once again, a story from the Palestinian-controlled territories highlights just how misleading are the pronouncements of Western media and politicians bent on creating a Palestinian Arab state on what kind of society that state would feature.
Western voice unwaveringly paint a picture of Palestinian society under the Palestinian Authority as an oppressed (by Israel), but tolerant and peaceful society where personal freedom is of the utmost importance.
The reality is that the Palestinian Authority, that purported bastion of progressiveness and moderation in a sea of totalitarianism, is no different than the Muslim regimes around it, and in a growing number of ways is starting to resemble Iran.
The Gaza Strip has already been transformed into “Iran-lite” with the rise of Hamas, and Western commentators like to contrast the PA-ruled “West Bank” as what all of Palestinian society could be like in the absence of the “Israel occupation.”
But 26-year-old Walid Hussein would probably take issue with that assertion, if he was free to speak his mind.
Hussein, the son of a Muslim scholar from the Samarian town of Kalkiya, was arrested this week for posting messages on the Internet questioning Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
According to the Associated Press, Palestinian Authority investigators used Facebook to finally track down Hussein, who for a number of years had managed to post freely on English and Arabic language websites using a pseudonym.
In his postings, Hussein said that Allah has the attributes of a “primitive Bedouin” and that Islam is “a blind faith that grows and takes over people’s minds where there is irrationality and ignorance.” Most recently, Hussein is suspected of creating a Facebook group in which he sarcastically declared himself to be Allah and ordered faithful Muslims to do ridiculous things that mock the commandments of the Koran.
His Facebook group and his personal website had been attracting tens of thousands of visitors a month, mostly from surrounding Arab countries.
Hussein now faces life in prison for violating a Palestinian Authority law against “insulting the divine presence.” His neighbors think he is getting off too easy.
“He should be burned to death,” another Kalkilya resident told the Associated Press, insisting that the execution take place in public “to be an example to others.”
It should come as little surprise that life under the Palestinian Authority would start to mimic life under the ayatollahs in Iran, or at least lay the groundwork for the publicly-backed takeover of Islamists like Hamas. After all, the Palestinian Authority is just a diplomatic front for the PLO, which decades ago was the world’s premier Islamic terrorist force, sought after even by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for its expertise and training.
Those Palestinian Arabs brave enough to speak readily acknowledge that the biggest mistake of the peace process was importing the PLO to be the official representative of the Palestinians. Doing so only made sense for the West, which was trying to kill two birds with one stone by directly involving the chief source of a growing international terrorist threat in solving the decades-old Israeli-Arab conflict.