Oh, come on, you mean to say you thought there was no hanky panky going on? Young activists, unattached and full of passion, show up from their affluent Western countries to help the poor, downtrodden Palestinian activists. These Palestinians are, for cultural reasons, predominantly males and in their society young, unmarried women are unavailable to them, especially sexually active females. So, along with UNWRA funding, the West has come together to offer another form of support.
Hookups happen. I mean, they did back when Israel was well-liked by Europeans and they came as volunteers to kibbutzim and hooked up with Israelis. Today, alas, the kibbutz volunteers have been replaced by hard-working, paid, Thai laborers and all the European lovelies and their American counterparts are heading over to the West Bank and East Jerusalem (after a few nights partying in Tel Aviv, of course) where a different type of volunteer work calls out.
There is apparently a dark side to all of this, however. Ha’aretz, Israel’s leftist, pro-Palestinian newspaper reports today (bold is my editorial):
The Palestinian Authority, as well as the leaders of the Palestinian popular protests in villages such as Bil’in, Na’alim, Umm Salmuna, have been trying to keep the following story away from both public knowledge and the media’s eye: One of the more prominent Umm Salmuna activists â€“ a village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence â€“ is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.
The European and American female activists reportedly agreed to let Aladdin stay with them after he had told them he feared the Israel Defense Forces were on his tail, adding that he had been severely beaten at an IDF checkpoint only a week before.
During his stay Aladdin allegedly attempted to rape a Muslim-American woman, nicknamed “Fegin” by fellow activists. The woman escaped, later accusing the popular protest man of the attempt. One villager who had encountered the American following the incident said she had been in a state of shock.
Aladdin then refused to apologize for the incident, when news of it reached the village’s popular committee, the popular protests’ governing body, allegedly saying that the incident had been marginal and normal.
Wait, that’s not all. Ha’aretz then adds:
…the Umm Salmuna case is not the only one. Separation fence activists know of other incidents in which Palestinians molested and sexually assaulted foreign peace activists…
None of this is surprising, although it is shameful that knowledge of these types of assaults is being kept from visiting activists who are essentially being sacrificed for the cause in which they so passionately believe. If organizers know these assaults are taking place but are keeping them under wraps in order to protect their anti-Israeli movement, they are putting politics far ahead of the personal safety of their supporters. We’ve seen the truth twisted in service of the Palestinian movement to destroy Israel, but this is a twist of different order.
So, if you’re female and planning to go help Palestinian activism against Israel over in the West Bank, do be careful and make sure you’re always around friends, especially when you go to sleep at night.
Update: ck quotes from Norman Finkelstein’s Gaza book:
Having just spent several months perusing Mahatma Gandhi’s collected works, and deeply inspired by his commitment to living the life of the impoverished masses, I had resolved to rough it in Gaza. But this was easier said than done. Along with several other delegates I volunteered to stay at a Palestinian family’s home rather than a hotel. Dressed to the nines, hair gelled, and reeking of cologne, several Palestinian youths met our group to select their home-stays. They departed with first one young female member of our delegation, then another, then another. The only candidates left hanging at the end of the evening were middle-aged men. We checked into the hotel.
Yup, the struggle to save Palestine continues. Thank you, young female activists!
On a side note…Amazingly, this article came, as noted above, from Ha’aretz. I was shocked to see it in there and literally double-checked that I was on the right site because they have so few stories covering Palestinian society in any note other than “victims.” The reporting in Ha’aretz typically resembles the leftist-Islamist alliance against Israel that we see in the West today. The Left provides the idealistic ammo against Israel, even as they ignore the fact that they’re supporting a society whose values, beliefs and actions are antithetical to the Left’s own ideals. Ha’aretz editors should wonder whether having given up any pretense of objectivity in their journalism undermines confidence in their reporting. They should ask themselves whether the constant portrayal of Israeli society in heinous terms, while depicting Palestinians as harmless victims of the heinous society, is responsible. Because it sure isn’t fair, objective journalism.