Why the Palestinians keep losing

The following axioms of Palestinian Arab behavior guarantee that Israel will have little to worry about from them for the foreseeable future:

1. Honor is more important than life, and lost honor can’t be recovered except by violence. Arab propaganda constantly reiterates the propositions that the Jews stole Arab land, committed massacres of Arabs, etc. The perceived loss of honor creates a massive amount of anger and therefore irrationality — especially in young men that have few other outlets for their energy. Hence the attraction of martyrdom, the propensity to target Jewish children, the glorification of terrorists, etc. Violence is seen as entirely justified until honor is recovered.

The focus on violence is self-defeating, because it impedes diplomatic gambits that might actually work. The most effective strategy of the Palestinian Arabs has been to pretend to want peace, an approach that got them the Oslo agreements, a huge defeat for Israel. Arafat squandered much of the gain by ramping up violence in the second Intifada.

If the Palestinians really want to destroy Israel, they should make compromises in negotiations — for example, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state — which they can always go back on later once they have gained concrete benefits. The boundless naivete in the West and the leftish parts of Israeli society will do their work for them. Fortunately, they are psychologically unable to do this.

2. It is always more important to hurt Jews than to help Arabs. One example of this is Hamas’ use of resources to build rockets and terror tunnels instead of sewage treatment facilities and power plants. Another is the specialization of Palestinian universities in politics rather than actual education. And of course the paradigm case is their insistence that the descendants of 1948 refugees must be kept stateless and miserable rather than being resettled.

As a result, Palestinians are kept poor, ignorant and frustrated. They do not like or trust their ‘leadership’, and are not worth much in a national struggle except as cannon fodder. They are constantly told that their problems are a result of ‘occupation’, but they are smart enough to know that this isn’t true.

Palestinian Arabs and Jews have been shown to be closer genetically than, for example, Jews and Europeans. Look what the Jews have done with this material! Palestinians could, too. But they won’t.

3. It is always a high priority for Arabs to hate other Arabs. This is really a general Middle-Eastern problem, not a specifically Palestinian one. Jews suffer from it as well, but it really is hurting the Palestinians. Today Hamas is in big trouble because it put all its eggs in the Muslim Brotherhood basket of Mohammed Morsi; now he’s out, and they are running out of funds. The feud between Hamas vs. Fatah appears insoluble, and now there are more radical groups operating in Gaza and Judea/Samaria that hate both Hamas and Fatah.

I thought hard about posting this. What if they take my advice? I can’t imagine that they will, though. They have been screwing themselves since the 1920’s; why should they stop now?

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2 Responses to “Why the Palestinians keep losing”

  1. Robman says:

    They won’t take your advice because the Moslem societies of NE Africa/SW Asia are very primitive de facto – and in the case of Iran, de jure – theocracies. They are living in the Middle Ages, and the bulk of their populations are a) incredibly ignorant if not in many cases, simply illiterate, and b) far more loyal and attentive to the authority of religious leaders than to their secular government leaders.

    The Islamic clerics have the last word in these societies. The secular govenments know this, and know as well that their first order of business, if they want to avoid the sort of fate to which the likes of Anwar Sadat and the Shah of Iran were subjected to, is to appease and placate these clerics above all other constituencies.

    If they bribe and placate the clerics, in a day-to-day sense, this makes governing very easy for the various kings and dictators of the region. They can be as corrupt and lazy as they want, as long as they can buy or otherwise gain the approval of the clerics. “Otherwise” means maintaining fealty to the political doctrines of said clerics…which means toeing the line of the beliefs you relate above, Vic. If they stray too far from such ideas – by, for example, treating Jews like equal human beings – they are through and they know it.

    So, while the educated and Westernized elites among them may know very well what you are saying, and may privately sympathize – may even see the opportunity to really stick it to Israel if they followed your advice – they won’t dare do it.

    Which means that in the long run, governing will be very hard for these secular rulers. Because, never mind Israel, by always conceding to the religious leaders, they’ll never be able to take the basic steps needed to bring their societies into something genuinely resembling the Modern Age. They’ll never be able to grow, compete, tackle their domestic problems, etc., while their social political lifestyle remains stuck in the 15th century. The anger and frustration of their masses, who can see how inferior and poor their societies are compared with those not similarly hobbled – SUCH AS ISRAEL RIGHT NEXT DOOR – will only grow and cause more and more problems.

    Alternatively, if they somehow, at some point, pull a “Henry VIII” and decisively overcome and subjugate the religious elites to their will…they might wake up and realize that there is no objective need, or anything to be gained, from “sticking it” to Israel after all.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    I wish I could be as confident as Robman that they won’t take your advice. Every day we hear contradictory reports about the negotiations taking place. One side of this is reports of ‘real progress’.
    Perhaps the bribes will be so huge they will think it expedient not to refuse. Perhaps the land that they will receive will be too tempting. As for the obligations they undertake they , as you point out, will find a way of getting out of them. They may just be desperate enough, have nowhere else to turn, understand that a ‘peace agreement’ which they intend to abrogate as they make it is the best way forward for them.
    I am not sure of this of course, and have no strong sense of what is about to come.