Unfortunately, my “Middle East” and “War” tags go together more often than not. This time it’s about a rare piece of good news from Palestine – an AP photographer who had been kidnapped was released – but the subtext is still depressing.
An Associated Press photographer was released Tuesday after a harrowing day in the hands of Palestinian gunmen who abducted him at gunpoint in Gaza – the latest in a string of kidnappings of foreigners in the chaotic area.
Emilio Morenatti, 37, was brought before midnight to the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by Fatah officials. It was not immediately clear who kidnapped him, though officials said he was taken by criminals.
In the past two years, militants have frequently kidnapped foreigners as bargaining chips to get relatives released from Palestinian prisons, secure government jobs or settle personal scores. In most cases, the kidnappings were brief and the hostages released unharmed.
Fortunately, Palestine is still not as bad as Iraq. It’s largely ethnically non-plural, with the exception of Jewish settlers (who are obviously not party to the civil war); it has a Christian minority, but it’s small enough that Islamist groups focus on killing Jews and secular Palestinians of any religion rather than on killing Christians. In particular, the Sunni-Shi’a and Arab-Kurd dynamics of Iraq are entirely absent.
The problem with this emerging civil war is that the standard solution, an international intervention, is impossible. Any outside force will either be perceived as too pro-Israeli, ensuring even more violence in Palestine, or as not pro-Israeli enough, ensuring that Israel will take exception to the whole plan.