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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 18, 2003

Polls, Palestinians and the Path to Peace

Article by Daniel Pipes wonders why the Palestinians are so angry with Israelis and decides it must be for one of two (or both) reasons. Presents some polling materials
Why are Palestinians so angry at Israel? There are two possible reasons.

Political: They accept the existence of a Jewish state but are angry with this or that Israeli policy.

Rejectionist: They abominate the very existence of Israel and want to destroy it.

Which is correct has many implications. If Palestinians only want changes in what Israel is doing (such as building towns on the West Bank), then it is reasonable to ask Israel to alter those actions - and the main burden of resolving the conflict falls on Israel.

But if Israel's existence remains at issue, then it follows that the conflict will end only when the Palestinians finally and irrevocably accept the Jewish state. Seen this way, the main burden falls on the Palestinians.

If it's a routine political dispute, diplomacy and compromise are the way to make progress. But if the Palestinians reject Israel's very existence, diplomacy is useless, even counterproductive, and Israel needs to convince Palestinians to give up on their aggressive intentions. More bluntly, Israel would then need to defeat the Palestinians.

Which interpretation is correct? [more]