In a speech at the conference of the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby J Street, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that the Palestinians are the “least ideological and sectarian” Arabs in the Middle East.
Biden’s comments on the Palestinians were an attempt to address questions concerning the Obama administration’s brokering of Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations during a time of upheaval elsewhere in the region, including in Syria and in Egypt.
“In light of all these problems, some people ask us: Why Biden, why, why Obama. Why are you so set on trying to resolve the peace process?” Biden said.
“The Palestinian-Israeli issue involves the least ideological and least sectarian Arabs in the Middle East,” he said in an answer to his rhetorical question.
Dr. Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, said Biden’s characterization of the Palestinians revealed the Obama administration’s “profound ignorance—or willful denial—about the Middle East.” He said the Palestinians, contrary to Biden’s assessment, have “shown themselves over the last century to be the most radicalized of populations not just in the region, but globally.”
“In the 1920s, they initiated a policy absolutely to reject the Zionist presence; in the 1940s, they joined with Adolf Hitler; in the 1960s, they founded modern terrorism; in the 1990s, they fraudulently signed an agreement on the White House lawn; in the 2000s, they engaged in a policy of ethnic cleansing vis-à-vis Christians; and today, as a terrorist organization rules in Gaza, a large majority endorses terrorism as a tactic and retains the goal of eliminating the sovereign Jewish state,” Pipes told JNS.org.
“Palestinians are, in fact, most ideological and most sectarian of Arabs,” he added.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that Palestinians express the highest support for terrorism and terrorist groups among Muslims, despite overall drops in support of terrorist groups across the Muslim world.
According to the survey, “Support for suicide bombing and other violence aimed at civilian targets is most widespread in the Palestinian territories, with 62% of Muslims saying that such attacks are often or sometimes justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies.”