Tuesday, January 10, 2023

In a recent interview in Hamodia, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said, when asked about a recent poll that showed 72%  of Palestinians support terror groups like Lion's Den, "I firmly believe, and you might disagree with me, but the vast, vast majority among the average Palestinians doesn’t wake up in the morning wanting to kill someone who happens to be Jewish. They want to live just like you and I do."

Stephen Flatow responded quite nicely in JNS to this.

I would like to add my own observations.

Nides was careful in his words. He didn't say that the vast majority of Palestinians don't support terror, only that most of them don't want to personally kill Jews.

I've been closely following Palestinian polls for over 15 years.  I suspect Nides knows that polls show consistently over the years that a majority of Palestinians support terror attacks as part of a strategy to gain independence. Those questions are asked in the abstract.

But when Palestinians are asked about specific terror attacks, support goes way up.

In 2008, a terrorist entered the Mercaz Harav yeshiva and started mowing down students. 8 were killed, including 4 children. When Palestinians were asked if they supported that attack, an astonishing 84% said they did.

You can see how Palestinians consistently support specific terror attacks that murder Jews more than general attacks in the abstract from that March 2008 poll.

This is more than simply supporting terror for political gain. This is bloodlust against Jews. 

Nothing has changed since then. In 2014, after a string of stabbing attacks including the massacre of four rabbis in Har Nof, not only were celebrations shown on Palestinian TV. A survey shortly after the event asked, "Recently there has been an increase in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank in attempts to stab or run over Israelis. Do you support or oppose these attempts?" Four out of five Palestinians supported murdering Jews, and one in three emphasized that they strongly support such attacks.

Although the media and government officials try hard to wave this away, the truth is in these surveys.

It goes beyond that. You will never find a Palestinian official on Arabic TV condemning these attacks - besides when Mahmoud Abbas is pressured to do so by the US. On the contrary, the murderers are "martyrs" and "heroes," virtually every time. 

Do well-meaning lies and obfuscations from people like Nides, and New York Times reporters, and Europeans, help the cause of peace? No, they don't. When the West gives Palestinians who support terror the benefit of the doubt, they learn an important lesson: that the West is on their side. By downplaying explicit and overwhelming Palestinian support for terror, they leaves the door open for "human rights" groups and Western parliaments to demonize Israel as the obstacle to peace, and the Palestinians as hapless, defenseless victims. 

This emboldens the terrorists and results in more dead people on both sides.

It is important to note that Gulf countries, in Arabic, have been criticizing Palestinians for nearly a decade now, even as their own support for suicide terror has plummeted in other surveys. The Abraham Accords is in no small part a result of a refreshing honesty in parts of the Arab world about the real situation. 

The West needs to stop its default stance of "don't upset the Palestinians." It hasn't worked and it has empowered them to be more intransigent, thinking that the West is doing their bidding. 

Palestinians live in an honor/shame society. Therefore, upsetting them is exactly what needs to be done. Palestinians must be shamed into stopping support for terror in their schools and media.  

If Tom Nides really wants peace, that is the most effective tool he has. 

Coddling and covering up Palestinian support for terror does the exact opposite - and we see how well that has worked.


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