The NY Times reports:
RAMALLAH, West Bank — A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.
The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.
“There is real reason to be concerned,” [pollster Khalil] Shikaki said in an interview at his West Bank office. His Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducts a survey every three months, is widely viewed as among the few independent and reliable gauges of Palestinian public opinion.
His explanation for the shift, one widely reflected in the Palestinian media, is that recent actions by Israel, especially attacks on Gaza that killed nearly 130 people, an undercover operation in Bethlehem that killed four militants and the announced expansion of several West Bank settlements [building within existing ‘settlements’ near Jerusalem that are expected to be retained by Israel in a final agreement — ed.], have led to despair and rage among average Palestinians who thirst for revenge.
How did it get to this point? Why has it been impossible for Jews and Arabs to reach an accommodation in the region?
Palestinians never accepted the presence of the Jewish state, and always believed that the land on which it was built was stolen from them. They never accepted any of the responsibility for the events of 1948 and thereafter. The Arab nations and media always presented this distorted view of historical events, and Arab and Palestinian leaders — the Mufti, Arafat, Nasser, etc. — consistently rejected any attempts to make peace or solve the refugee problem.
According to the Palestinian story, they are entirely the victims, and everything is the Jews’ fault. Therefore there is no reason to compromise, since real justice would require the elimination of Israel and the removal of the Jews from their land.
Over the years, under the guidance of such as Arafat, Palestinians tried to achieve their goals by murder and terrorism. Israeli attempts at self-defense have always been interpreted as aggression, both for external consumption — to create sympathy for the Palestinians in the West — and in their own minds. After all, since the Jews are entirely culpable for Palestinian suffering, anything may be done to them in order to obtain justice and end the suffering.
The Oslo debacle demonstrates this clearly. While Israelis were prepared to make concrete concessions and to re-educate themselves to the new reality of a Palestinian state, Arafat was not prepared to give anything — not recognition of Israel, not a cessation of terrorism, and, probably most significant for today’s situation, not a reduction in anti-Israel incitement.
In fact, Arafat created a massive indoctrination machine which included all Palestinian media, the educational system, PA-associated mosques, etc., all focused on delegitimizing and demonizing Israel, and preparing young Palestinians for their roles as soldiers in the coming war.
The truly remarkable thing about this period was the way that Israel and the US managed to ignore all this, to ignore Arafat calling for jihad in Arabic while talking peace in English, to discount his sponsorship of terrorism — even after it was proven beyond a doubt — and to offer him an unprecedented deal in 2000 in which the Palestinians would receive between 95 and 97 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza for their state.
But anyone who knew the Palestinian story could have predicted that Arafat would reject even this, because it did not redress the primary Palestinian grievance, the creation of Israel on ‘their’ land.
And in the same way, the Palestinian story implies that anything that Israel does in self-defense — the security barrier, arrests of terrorists, incursions to stop rocket fire — is done to perpetuate the injustice, and will only create more outrage.
So here we are, 60 years after 1948 and the Palestinians are furious and want revenge. 60 years have passed, during which time the Palestinians have focussed on themselves and the historic injustice that they understand to have been done them so narcissistically that they are now unable to see that slaughtering innocent teenagers and randomly bombing civilians is evil. We have a situation in which a majority of a population has been turned — by systematic manipulation and indoctrination — into moral monsters.