A new poll has found that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs support terrorism against Israel and regard terrorists as heroes. The question is why—and the answer is easy to find.
The poll was carried out in early June by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, together with a German civic educational institution, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
The poll began by asking Palestinian Arabs what has been “the most positive development” since the creation of Israel in 1948. A total of 72% cited one of several developments that were directly connected to terrorism against Jews: the rise of Hamas and Islamic Jihad (24%), the first and second Intifadas (21%), the establishment of the PLO (18%), or the establishment of Fatah (9%).
Another question asked about terrorism today: 71% said “they are in favor of forming armed groups such as the ‘Lion’s Den’ and the ‘Jenin Battalion’.” (Those are the cover names used by Palestinian terrorists who have carried out many recent attacks.)
Should the PA arrest terrorists? 86% of the poll respondents said no. Should the terrorists surrender their weapons to the PA “in order to receive protection against Israeli assassination”? 80% said no. Should the PA accept “the two-state solution”? 70% said no. (And by the way, it’s reasonable to assume that even many of the 28% who said yes consider a Palestinian state only ‘phase one’ in the process of eliminating Israel.)
The new poll comes on the heels of student elections at two major Palestinian Arab universities, in which all the candidates were associated with terrorist groups. The Hamas students were victorious at both An-Najah University and Birzeit University, with Fatah in second place and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in third.
How did they get that way? Why do the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs support anti-Jewish terrorism and long for the destruction of Israel?
They weren’t born hating Jews. And they didn’t become haters because they were occupied or persecuted—98% of the Palestinian Arabs have been living under the rule of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas since 1995.
For the past 28 years, nearly all Palestinian Arab children have grown up without seeing a single Israeli in their cities. There are no soldiers stationed there, no military governor, no “settlers” occupying their land.
They grew up in an environment controlled by the PA (or, in Gaza, by Hamas). That environment was supposed to be shaped by the Oslo II agreement, signed by Israel and the PA in 1995, which states (Chapter 4, Article XXII, clause 1) that the PA is required to “abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda” against Israel and Jews.
Yet for the past 28 years, the PA has done exactly the opposite of what it pledged to do. For 28 years, an entire generation of Arab children was raised in an environment that should have been free of incitement and antisemitism. According to the Oslo agreement, the PA was supposed to foster peace and nonviolence through its schools, news media, and popular culture.
Instead, the PA has done the opposite. It names streets and parks after terrorists. It pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists and dead terrorists’ families. PA schools teach that Arab terrorists are heroes and Jews are hook-nosed racist monsters. The PA’s official maps, in government offices and schoolrooms alike, show all of Israel as “Occupied Palestine.”
Just take a look at the invaluable website of Palestinian Media Watch for a glimpse of what Palestinian Arabs are reading, seeing and hearing on any given day.
On May 30, for example, the PA gave a full military funeral to a member of the PA Intelligence division who was also a Fatah terrorist and was recently killed after he tried to murder Israelis. Instead of denouncing Ashraf Ibrahim as an enemy of peace, the PA lionized him. The official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, hailed him as a “martyr” and senior PA officials attended his funeral. One who spoke at the funeral urged the public to “confront Israel with every weapon.”
A week before that, on May 23, official PA Television broadcast an announcement by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate that “the top priority of the Palestinian journalist is loyalty to all the Martyrs, loyalty to our people’s just cause.” So much for journalistic standards!
Go back a little further and you read that PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh boasted on his Facebook page on May 4 that the Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered Rebbetzin Lucy Dee and her two daughters were “righteous martyrs” who “ascended to heaven” because they were fighting “the criminal occupation.”
So, it’s no wonder the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs support terrorism and want to see Israel destroyed—because that is what they have been taught, incessantly, throughout their lives.