During the 1936-39 riots and strikes they ended up killing far more of their own people than anyone else. Their leadership was forced out of the area and they were left a disorganized mess, which historians blame for their poor performance in 1948. Yet they nostalgically refer to that time period as "The Great Revolt," mostly because they did manage to scare the British into severely limiting Jewish immigration and therefore many tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of Jews ended up in ovens instead of Palestine. Apparently, to the Palestinian Arabs, this made it all worthwhile.
The same logic is happening now. The second intifada, by any sane measure, was a terrible setback for supposed Palestinian Arab hopes for an independent homeland. Thousands were killed, their economy was ruined, and the possibility of nationhood became more remote. Just as in the 1930s, they ended up fighting each other, killing hundreds more. Yet they regard it today with nostalgia - because they were successful in killing over a thousand Jews and the wave of suicide bombings made them feel important and relevant as they enjoyed being on the world stage - even if it was for terrorism.
Today, Palestinian Arab leaders across the spectrum are calling for a new intifada, and leveraging the threat of one to gain the prestige that they associate with terror.
Several political figures from across the Palestinian spectrum have suggested this week that a new uprising is on its way in the wake of the violent clashes with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday.
The Hamas movement urged Palestinians throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel to take to the streets and begin a new uprising against Israel in reaction to clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Muhammad Dahlan, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, warned on Sunday a third intifada could arise in light of "Israel's contempt for the feelings of Muslims."Other officials, like Saeb Erekat and others from the PLO, are more indirect in their calls to violence by characterizing peaceful Jewish visits to the Temple Mount as "attack[s] on ordinary civilians and worshippers at Al-Aqsa." These lies are simply incitement to terror.
These threats of violence are perceived as something that gives them relevance, and relevance is synonymous with honor. This perceived "honor," in turn, is more important than compromise, peace and normal lives for PalArabs.
If anyone is provoking violence, it is the Palestinian Arab side. But this is not surprising because these are the people who name public squares and children's camps after the most vile terrorists, who almost universally support attacks on Israeli civilians, and who celebrate when Jews are murdered.
Is it any wonder that Palestinian Arabs are calling to relaunch a new terrorism campaign? The prestige that it gives them in the Arab world is worth far more to them than the lives that are disrupted and lost when they choose war.