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Why are Palestinians So Angry?

Why are Palestinians So Angry?

Palestinian rejectionism flourishes.


Why are Palestinians so angry at Israel? There are two possible reasons.

Political: They accept the existence of a Jewish state but are angry with this or that Israeli policy.

Rejectionist: They abominate the very existence of Israel and want to destroy it.

Which is correct has many implications. If Palestinians only want changes in what Israel is doing (such as building towns on the West Bank), then it is reasonable to ask Israel to alter those actions -- and the main burden of resolving the conflict falls on Israel.

But if Israel's existence remains at issue, then it follows that the conflict will end only when the Palestinians finally and irrevocably accept the Jewish state. Seen this way, the main burden falls on the Palestinians.

If it's a routine political dispute, diplomacy and compromise are the way to make progress. But if the Palestinians reject Israel's very existence, diplomacy is useless, even counterproductive, and Israel needs to convince Palestinians to give up on their aggressive intentions. More bluntly, Israel would then need to defeat the Palestinians.

Which interpretation is correct?

In a spring 2002 poll of residents in the West Bank and Gaza conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, a Palestinian organization, 43 percent of respondents called for a Palestinian state only in the West Bank and Gaza and 51 percent insisted on the state in "all of historic Palestine," code words for the destruction of Israel.

Thus, Palestinian rejectionism flourishes. But the outside world averts its collective eyes from this fact. Those institutions and individuals with a megaphone -- in both Israel and America, not to speak of the United Nations, the left and those in diplomatic, journalistic, artistic and academic circles worldwide -- generally assert that Palestinian acceptance of Israel has occurred and focus instead on Israel's need to "take risks for peace."

The conflict will end only when the Palestinians finally and irrevocably accept the Jewish state.

In contrast, only a small number of conservatives in Israel and the United States point out the continued power of Palestinian rejectionism.

Given this backdrop of mostly wishful thinking, it is remarkable to see how realistically the Israeli and American electorates view Palestinian intentions. The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University found in fall 2002 that 18 percent of Israeli Jews believe the Palestinians have accepted Israel's existence and 71 percent think the opposite.

To learn American views on this issue, the Middle East Forum recently sponsored a poll asking a national cross-section of 1,000 likely voters, "Do you believe that the goal of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority is to have a small state living in peace alongside Israel, or is its goal the eventual destruction of Israel?"

The response was clear. Nineteen percent of respondents said Arafat seeks a small state living in peace alongside Israel; 61 percent said he seeks the eventual destruction of Israel.

(Technical aside: The other 20 percent didn't know or refused to reply. This poll, conducted on Feb. 11-12 by the New York polling firm McLaughlin & Associates, has an accuracy of +/- 3.1% at the 95 percent confidence interval.)

Not only are the Israeli and U.S. numbers strikingly similar but even more noteworthy is how the U.S. electorate ignores the overwhelming consensus of authoritative voices and, by a more than 3-to-1 ratio, understands that Palestinian rejectionism lies at the heart of the conflict. This insight testifies to the wisdom of a free and informed people. It also has great potential significance for U.S. policy, signaling to the Bush administration to heed its own electorate and recognize that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict persists because Israel is, not what it does.

This means abandoning the habit of pressing Israel to make further concessions to the Palestinians and instead aiming to convince the Palestinians that Israel is here to stay. This might entail such steps as:

  • Discouraging Palestinian anti-Semitism and other forms of incitement against Israel;

  • Reassessing antiquated U.S. policies that help keep the Palestinian "refugees" in limbo;

  • Endorsing tough but necessary Israeli actions to end Palestinian violence; and

  • Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.

The sooner Palestinians, leaders and public alike, come to terms with the unalterable reality of Israel's existence, the better it will be for all concerned.

February 22, 2003

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 14

(14) Jeff Pomykala, July 22, 2003 12:00 AM

"John" just doesn't get it......We are not the idiots you have been taught we are.

In response to "john"3/27/2003 commentary:

John (or maybe it's really "Ahmed"??) The reason you can't believe the commentaries so against the "palestinians" is because YOU have been brainwashed your whole life into believing a when you see others speaking the real truth, you just can't comprehend it.
You say the "Palestinians" want peace?? Maybe, but their idea of "peace" is to destroy Israel so there is no one else in the land but themselves. A "peaceful" person doesn't strap a bomb to their body and walk to the market to blow up innocent civilians. A "peaceful" person doesn't demand the destruction of their neighbor. If you believe yourself (most assuredly you're an Arab) to be peaceful, I'd hate to see your version of "war-like".
You also have believed the lie that Israel is REALLY the "palestinians" land, when REAL history (as opposed to Arabic revisionist history) show it was never your land to begin with. The Jews have complete historical and archeological proof as to their "ownership" of the land. IT WAS NEVER YOURS! so get over it! The overwhelming majority of your forfathers came over from neighboring Arabic states due to the WEALTH and PROSPERITY that the Jew brought to a land that, prior to their returning, was unproductive and relatively barren. This is complete historical fact.
The US is pro-Israel not because of a "Zionist" entity (which is just more crap that you have been taught) but simply because most Americans know the land once belonged to Israel, and due to the Holocaust, we know that the Jewish people deserve and NEED their homeland back -- "Never Again!" -- The Jews have returned to their home and they are there to stay. Learn to live with that -- and you would be blessed so much more by G-d!! Your quality of life and standard of living would be more than double what your Arab brothers in neighboring theocratically REPRESSED and ignorant nations have. You would have SO MUCH more if you just grew up, put aside your foolish "pride" (alas! poor Ishmael!) and joined us at the table of humankind.
The alleged "Zionist entity" (and the "Protocols of the elders of Zion") are complete fallacies put out by your powerhungry Imams--they are LIES!
Word of advice - in life, you will be treated in the manner that you treat others. If you want good-will and objectivity, then be willing to give that toward the Jew as well---instead of your bombs and hatred.
Objectively speaking, and looking at ALL the facts, you are a barbaric, hate-filled and MISLED! people.
Lastly, yes, Iraq (as well as any other barbaric nation that supports militant Islam) is a major threat due to their support of terrorism. Your Logic is such that "well, Israel hasn't kept treaties, so it's ok for Iraq too!!" Well, the truth is, Israel HAS kept treaties -- If you refer to UN resolutions, they have kept those as well---but again, YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO BY YOUR LEADERS! The perfect example is the farms on Israels northern border. Israel pulled back behind the blue-lines drawn by the UN, but in order to keep the flames of hatred burning, Syria claims the farms are theirs and brainwashes YOU into believing Israel is not complying--etc. etc. etc. and the hatred goes on into another generation of ignorant, uncultured, misled children....
The fact is, Israel has complied with all treaties and resolutions. YOUR leaders misread the resolutions and inform you of lies...and any treaty Israel HAS stopped complying by, has only come about after YOU have reneged on your obligations to the treaty. The example: The current "road-map" - while Israel is trying to comply, you Arabs WILL NOT reign in the terror --which is a REQUIREMENT of the road-map. Israel has every right to respond to any attacks with force. And by G-d, this AMERICAN will let them!!

May there be TRUE PEACE in Israel...soon

(13) james miller, May 3, 2003 12:00 AM

Arabs in Sudan

The Arabs in Sudan are stealing children from their families. After training them they chase and kill their own brothers and sisters. All if this is going on in the Nuba Mountains. Others walk hundreds of miles to Refugee camps in Kenya. All of the soilders don,t know why there killing their own family, they just know that the Arabs are the enemy and can only remember the how it was before the enemy came. I think this issue as a whole is over looked, and we never hear about Arab oppression in Africa.

(12) Andrew Gelbman, April 14, 2003 12:00 AM

Who CARES why they are angry...

We need to stop trying to contemplate the minds of madmen, and concern ourselves with defeating them. I am not interested in why the Arabs are angry any more than I care why the Nazis were angry. They have no legitimate point of view so long as the continue to illegally occupy land that is not and never was theirs.

Israel needs to concern herself with how she is going to crush the PLO and disperse the squatter populations back to their countries of origin in the most expeditious way possible.

The French and the Arabs can comiserate in Hell as much as they want afterwards.

(11) john, March 27, 2003 12:00 AM

I saw the comments of previous readers and I just cannot believe it.Palestinians do want peace and how wouldn't they at the end?They just want to be known what belongs to them.We do know that US is in favour of Israel and thats because of the great Zionism that exists there.USA is captive of its lobbies and thats the reality.What Palestinian people seek for is good willing and objectivity.By the way if Iraq is a threat then what about Israel?How many resolutions has Israel actually ignored?peace

(10) Anonymous, March 5, 2003 12:00 AM


When we stop thinking of these people as Palestinians and think of them as Arabs with out a country, maybe then the mind set will see that they don't want a seperate country, they want the death of ALL Jews

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