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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

"Glorious"

Islamic Jihad's website Saraya.ps has an article on the ninth anniversary of the beginning of the second Intifada. The exact words the article uses are "the ninth anniversary of the glorious Al-Aqsa Intifada in Palestine."

Think about this for a minute. The intifada resulted in the deaths of over 5000 Palestinian Arabs. As a direct result of the uprising, Israel built a wall to protect her citizens and that made the lives of Palestinian Arabs more difficult. The political goals of moderate Palestinian Arabs were set back by years. Yasir Arafat turned from a respected international figure into a joke, hiding terrorists in his compound. The Palestinian Arabs themselves suffered a huge split between Gaza and the West Bank and between Hamas and Fatah.

By the standards of any normal observer, the second intifada was anything but "glorious."

In order to comprehend the mentality of Palestinian Arabs, it is critical to understand the reasons they think that the intifada was a victory.

The answer is quite simple, and disheartening for those who think that there is any realistic chance for peace.

From the start, Palestinian Arabs never showed any real interest in building their own state, but rather in destroying the Jewish state. The majority of them happily accepted Jordanian sovereignty in 1949 and their nationalism has always been one based on the negation of Jewish nationalism in Palestine.

In other words, victory to them is not what helps Palestinian Arabs, but rather than what hurts Israelis.

Once this simple fact is understood, all the seemingly counterproductive decisions and celebrations that Palestinian Arabs make are easy to understand. The Intifada was bad for Israelis, of course - over a thousand murdered, and restrictions on Israeli movement; armed guards at supermarkets, people nervous about taking buses, and a much more difficult life in general for all Israelis.

Since it hurt Israelis, it must be - by their definition - a glorious victory.

This explains why terror attacks are greeted with glee by so many Palestinian Arabs. That is not an anomalous way of thinking - it is mainstream, as we have seen from polls since the 1990s. If Israelis are hurt, then it must be good for Palestinian Arabs.

There is one other factor that acts as a multiplier effect, that makes every counterproductive decision appear to be a victory. The honor/shame culture is a large part of this psyche.

To Arabs, honor is indistinguishable from importance, and when Palestinian Arabs do something relevant that is noticed by the world, it is a badge of honor. This is why terror and the intifada is so celebrated. Not only were Israelis hurt and killed, but also Palestinian Arabs made world headlines. Headlines translates into relevance, which equals importance, which equals honor. Nothing hurts PalArabs more than the thought that they are irrelevant. Like second graders, they need to act up once in a while to get attention, and negative attention is better than nothing at all.

This is not only why the intifada is celebrated but also why the Palestinian Arabs are rioting now, while Israel did nothing to change the status quo. The current mini-outbreak was instigated by the Islamists but it is being continued by the mainstream of PalArabs, encouraged by their leaders from Fatah, the PA, Hamas and the other terror organizations. They do not see a downside.

Is it any wonder that peace is so elusive? One cannot make peace with people whose goals are so diametrically opposed to real peace.