The Arab-Israeli conflict gets so much ink and analysis because the region is always in flux.
Yet some things remain constant.
The Israelis and Palestinian Arabs poll themselves frequently about sentiments on a variety of topics. Occasionally, they conduct joint polls as occurred on January 24, 2023. The Palestinian Center of Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) and Tel Aviv University’s International MA Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation (Israeli Pulse) issued their report as Palestinians and Israelis engaged in a series of attacks. The joint poll is another tool to assess how Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs (there are no Palestinian Jews anymore, as Palestinians exclude Jews from the definition) consider different aspects of living together, and how trends in such attitudes change.
In many ways, the groups agree on much: only about one-third of Israelis and Palestinians supports a two-state solution, a percentage that has continued to decline since 2016. About 85% of both Israelis and Arabs do not trust each other, and 84% of each considers themselves the victim in the conflict. About 60% of each group fears for their safety, roughly 93% of each group believes that they are the rightful owners to all of the land, and about 70% of each thinks the conflict is a zero-sum relationship, in that what’s good for one side is bad for the other.
The areas with some gap in sentiments includes engaging in an all-out war, with an estimated 40% of Palestinians and 26% of Israelis in favor, and roughly one-third of Israeli Jews willing to share the land with Palestinians but only 7% of Palestinians willing to share any land with Jews.
That last figure – only about one in fourteen Palestinians Arabs are in favor of sharing any of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – is frightening and should be read in the context of another question in the joint poll.
“When did the conflict begin?”
To read the news and consider the ideas floated to bring peace to the region, one would imagine that the respondents would answer “the 1967 Six Day War,” to the question when the conflict originated, as that is when “occupation” began and those are the contours proposed in the Saudi Peace Plan. Yet only 8% of Palestinian Arabs and 5% of Israeli Jews believe that is the beginning of the conflict.
A majority of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews (60% and 52%, respectively) believe that the conflict began with the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the Zionist immigration wave. It is the increased presence of Jews in the region – with international support – that is the core of the conflict, and why only 7% of Palestinians would consider sharing any of the land with the Jewish “colonialists.”
Only Israeli Arabs don’t hold this position, as they believe the conflict began with Israel’s declaration of independence, which makes sense as that is when their reality began. Similarly, they are the group most likely to promote good relations between Jews and Arabs (70%), followed by Israeli Jews (56%). Almost no Palestinians want to promote good relations (22%), as it has been blacklisted under the banner of “normalization.”
Palestinians do not believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is about land or religion. They believe it is about the physical presence of Jews in the land they view as singularly theirs. Until the world focuses on changing this jaundiced Palestinian viewpoint, there is no hope for a peaceful resolution.
The “cycle of violence” is continuing in the holy land, in a phrase that inappropriately conveys similarity.
Last week, the Israel Defense Forces went after a terrorist cell in Jenin which was planning attacks against Israelis. The gun battle resulted in nine dead Palestinians, seven of them terrorists.
Hours later, a Palestinian Arab shot and killed seven innocent Jews coming out of synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath. The terrorist was killed. The following day a 13-year old Palestinian shot and injured a father and son walking on the streets of Jerusalem on the Sabbath. The perpetrator was taken into custody.
There is no moral equivalence between the actions of Palestinians attacking innocent Jews and Israel defending its citizens. There is no equivalence of intent which is lost in the phrase “cycle of violence.”
While Israel has created a multi-ethnic democracy which has tried to live in peace with its neighbors, Palestinians continue to demand a purely Arab and Islamic region, ethnically cleansed of Jews.
Both the United States and Israel conducted raids on wanted terrorists in January 2023. Both countries killed about ten terrorists and escaped the raids without losing any soldiers. The Israeli raid also was reported by local Arab sources to have two civilian casualties, while no civilians deaths were reported by the U.S. military.
The New York Times covered the stories very differently.
The story of the U.S. raid was found at the bottom of the page. It had no pictures. The title read “U.S. Copter Raid Kills an ISIS Leader in Somalia,” which made the U.S. raid sound mechanical – as if done by a drone. The attack clearly took out a bad person, the leader of ISIS.
The article itself would only quote from the U.S. military. The reporters did not run around Somalia to talk to local people about whether the American claims were true and that no civilians were injured.
That is all in sharp contrast to the Israeli raid on the same day.
The Israeli story was featured at the top of the page with two large pictures, one of a funeral and another of “an elderly Palestinian mourner as the funeral procession began.” The article ran under the header “Israeli Troops Kill Several Palestinians in West Bank Raid.” In this case, there was no distancing of soldiers in the field as there was in the U.S. story. More significantly, the headline made the Palestinians appear as innocent civilians, rather than active terrorists.
The Times article was written by two Arab women, and featured many quotes from local Arabs who used inflammatory language about the raid to stop terrorist activity.
The New York Times is creating a fictional narrative that Israelis are wantonly killing Palestinian civilians to turn American support from the Jewish State. It is an example of the insidious anti-Zionism which has permeated liberal media and is instigating anti-Semitism on American streets.
If this sounds exaggerated, consider the Times headline the following day when a Palestinian Arab murdered seven Jews coming out of a synagogue on Sabbath.
For the anti-Zionist media, Israelis kill Palestinians but some “people” are dead from anonymous shots. Of course, this is a complete inversion of facts, as the Arab intentionally shot and killed innocent Jews, while Israel went to Jenin to capture terrorists.
The Times is maliciously lying to its readers and falsifying the Israeli-Arab Conflict.
In November 2005, the United Nations decided to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the few surviving Jews from the Auschwitz Death Camp in Poland on January 27, 1945, as an International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On that day, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the Holocaust is “a unique evil which cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten.”
The reality is that the lust for Jewish blood is very much a part of the present.
In December 2022, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) published its latest poll. It showed a dramatic spike in the number of West Bank Arabs in favor of killing Israeli Jews. The gap in Jewish blood lust between Gazans and West Bank Arabs was at the narrowest level since the Second Intifada / Two Percent War.
The results of the PCPSR poll were depressing, showing Palestinian support for terrorism against Israeli Jews and a rejection of a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. In particular, Arabs showed vigorous support for new terrorist groups emerging in Jenin which had committed a number of deadly attacks inside of Israel.
On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance, when the world pretends in understands #NeverAgain, the Israeli Defense Forces launched a raid to capture several terrorists in Jenin who had committed, and were planning to launch, terrorist attacks. The IDF was successful in eliminating several terrorists when the Arabs opened fire on the soldiers, and left Jenin without the loss of any IDF troops. Two West Bank civilians were killed according to reports from Arab media.
About twelve hours earlier, U.S. forces killed a top leader of the Islamic State and ten other fighters in a raid in Somalia, without the loss of any American troops. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the terrorist “was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan.”
And just a few hours before the U.S. raid, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “terrorism remains a global scourge — an affront to humanity on every level. It affects people of all ages, cultures, religions and nationalities.” Indeed, as the U.S. and Israeli raids against terrorism highlighted.
But there’s an important difference.
Gutteres pointed out that terrorism “is a global scourge” which impacts all religions and nationalities. Lloyd Austin mentioned that the Islamic State was building a base “in Africa… worldwide, including in Afghanistan.”
But Palestinian terrorist groups are only coming for the Jews, and the majority of Palestinian society supports them. These terrorists are not a fringe radical group but represent a mainstream sentiment. That desire elected a Holocaust denier to the presidency in the last Palestinian election and will likely vote a terrorist as president in the next.
Many actively deny this reality. We pretend that targeting Jews was “consigned to the past” and the occasional terrorist attack in Israel is part of a “global scourge” which “finds its home in vacuums” as Gutteres opined.
It’s not. It’s grounded in a perverse anti-Semitism.
As we remember the 6 million Jews murdered by Nazis and their collaborators, let us not forget the “unique evil” was that Jews were systematically targeted for annihilation. So it was in Europe in the 1940’s, and remains so among Palestinian Arabs in the holy land today.
Before Israel declared itself an independent state in May 1948, “Palestinians” were a mix of Jews, Christians and Muslims. At the end of the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli War, the region was divided and renamed. There were Israeli Jews, Christians and Muslims, but no longer any “Palestinians,” as the non-Israeli territory fell under Egypt (Gaza) and The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (the west bank of the Jordan River). The term “Palestinians” for the United Nations came to only mean Arab refugees from Israel, who were then living either in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and Israel (the term Palestinian refugees inside of Israel was phased out by the global body in 1952).
Jordanians and subsequently, Former Jordanians
After Transjordan illegally seized control of the west bank of the Jordan River in 1949, it renamed itself as “Jordan”, now controlling both banks of the river. Jordan annexed that west bank land in 1950 and subsequently gave all the people who lived there – as long as they weren’t Jewish – Jordanian citizenship in 1954. These new Jordanians moved freely between both sides of the Jordan River and many opted to NOT take on the label of “refugee.” To wit, in June 1950, there were 506,200 refugees in Jordan, and that number shrank to 465,741 in June 1951, an 8% drop.
The new Jordanians were part of the force that attacked Israel in June 1967 and lost the eastern part of Jerusalem and all of the land Jordan illegally annexed in 1950. Jordan ultimately withdrew Jordanian citizenship from these West Bank Arabs in July 1988, when the Palestinians declared their independence, in a move not recognized by much of the world.
The former Jordanians are ruled by the Palestinian Authority, under the unpopular leadership of Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. He has championed for more countries to recognize the Palestinian State and has secured the Muslim countries as well as several in Latin America. As the United States and western Europe have refused to recognize the country until it negotiates borders and other matters with Israel, they are viewed as stateless.
Meanwhile, Israel lifted the Jordanian ban on Jews living in the region. Israeli Jews now live throughout the area known as Area C, while they are still banned in Areas A and B under Palestinian Authority-control.
Hamas and Fatah have not been able to reconcile their differences over the past many years. Gaza remains an Islamic terrorist territory, and Areas A and B of the West Bank (handed by Israel to the Palestinian Authority) remain under control of the PA, for now. Should elections ever be held, it is likely that Hamas will win control of the PA and thereby take control of the former Jordanians in those areas.
One hundred years ago, “Palestinians” included a mix of Jews, Muslims and Christians living together. Today it means nothing. As Hamas controlled-Gaza and Fatah-controlled Areas A and B are completely distinct and there is no country of Palestine, the people should similarly be referred to differently, as Gazans and former Jordanians.
Isabel Kershner deposited an article in the international section of The New York Times on January 4, 2023 about an Israeli member of Knesset visiting the Jewish Temple Mount. It should have been posted in the opinion pages.
The article led off with a comment lifted from the Muslim Arab world that Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the holy site was “provocative.” Kershner used the term three times (highlighted in red boxes above). The visit was nothing of the sort. The Temple Mount has standard visiting hours as it did when Ben-Gvir visited on Tuesday.
That was unmentioned in the article. Instead the article was replete with characterizations of Israel as full of “right-wing” and “hard-line” extremists unfairly punishing Palestinian Arabs, rather than Israelis trying to live a normal life with genocidal anti-Semitic neighbors.
After Kershner said that Ben Gvir was provocative, she added this:
“The visit under heavy guard to the site – a frequent flash point in the Old City of Jerusalem where past Israeli actions have set off broader conflagration – was the first by such high level official in years and passed without incident. But coming two days after Mr. Ben-Gvir took office, it was an early indicator of the difficulties Israel’s new government , its most right-wing and religiously conservative yet, will face in the domestic and global arenas.“
This is a complete inversion of victim and aggressor. A visit by a prominent Israeli Jew to the holiest site in Judaism during regular visiting hours was not the trigger for violence, any more than a woman who rejected an unwanted incel’s advance deserves to be attacked. Adding the clause that Israel’s government is politically and religiously right-wing while saying nothing about the Islamic terrorist groups further paints Israelis as instigators of violence.
The picture accompanying the article showed many “Israeli security personnel” surrounding the visitors, but the article failed to report that Jewish visitors are frequently assaulted during their visits by radical Islamists. The security personnel were not just “near visitors” but there to guard Jews from marauding jihadists.
Kershner’s article continued in the same noxious vein. She wrote that Israelis had “a nationalist and religious agenda,” and held “hard line policies,” and Ben-Gvir “support[ed] a terrorist group.” She failed to mention that Hamas is a recognized terrorist group by the United States which seeks the destruction of Israel. She did not write about the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-to-slay” terror-incentive program. She ignored Palestinian polls which show half of all Palestinians supporting the murder of Israeli Jews in their homes, and ADL polls which shows that almost every Palestinian is an anti-Semite.
Quite the opposite. Her opinion piece masked as reporting said that Israelis are “hard liners” and Arabs are peaceful victims.
Kershner claimed that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ignited the “second Palestinian intifada”, when it was actually deliberately launched by Yasser Arafat in the collapse of the Oslo Accords in which he led the slaughter of over 1,000 Israeli civilians in hundreds of terrorist attacks (also unmentioned). She said that Israel’s new government had an “uncompromising approach to the Palestinians,” as if terrorism and threats to murder deserve a compromise.
Perhaps only kill Jewish males and leave the females alive, like the Egyptians in the bible?
To underscore Kershner’s fake narrative on the peaceful ways of Muslim Arabs regarding the Jewish Temple Mount, she added this bit of malarkey:
“the [Temple Mount] compound was conquered by Israel during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. Under an uneasy arrangement that has prevailed for decades under Jordanian custodianship, Jews are permitted to visit, as are non-Muslim tourists, but they are not supposed to pray there.”
This fantasy narrative for the ignorant has Israel forcefully seizing the Temple Mount and the Jordanians giving Jews and other non-Muslims the right to visit.
The Times is lying to its readership and inverting history.
The reality is the Jordan attacked Israel in 1948, ethnically cleansed all Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem, destroyed the synagogues and illegally annexed the Temple Mount compound, the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. During the eighteen years 1949-1967 while Jordan illegally held the Temple Mount, it barred Jews from even visiting the western wall/ Kotel, let alone the Temple Mount. Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967 and Israel took the Old City in a defensive battle. The Jewish State granted Jordan administrative rights on the Temple Mount while it provided security.
In short, it is Israel – not Arabs – which has tried to create a system of coexistence in the holy city and holy places, exactly the opposite of NYT reporting.
It is seemingly insufficient that Jews must fight to survive among genocidal jihadists in the Middle East and anti-Semites in the diaspora. Mainstream media is working to ensure that Jews will be hamstrung in public opinion, as the anti-Zionists attempt to sever the ties of the Jewish State’s critical backer, the United States, and leave Israel isolated among those hell-bent on its destruction.
Arabs have been murdering Jews in the holy land since 1920, when the British took over the region from the Ottomans. The number of Jews killed by local Arabs spiked during riots such as those in 1929, from 1936 to 1939 and from 2000 to 2004.
Jews have been deliberately targeted for death every year. In some years, the Arabs are more successful.
In 2014, as the U.S.-sponsored peace talks collapsed, the Palestinian political-terrorist group Hamas abducted and killed three teenagers, which sparked Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. The Palestinian Arabs in Areas A and B in the West Bank soon joined the carnage in what became known as the “stabbing and car ramming intifada,” using an Arabic term which means “resistance” to whitewash the anti-Semitic blood lust.
In September 2015, Mahmoud Abbas, acting-President of the Palestinian Authority called for a holy war for Jerusalem, blessing Muslim Arab “activists” who harassed Jews visiting their holiest site of the Temple Mount. He said “We bless you; we bless the Mourabitoun and the Mourabitat. We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every shaheed (martyr) will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward. All of their steps, we will not allow them. All these divisions, Al-Aqsa is ours, and the (Church of the) Holy Sepulcher is ours, everything is ours, all ours. They (the Jews) have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet and we won’t allow them to.“
Thirty-three of the 37 people killed by Palestinian terrorism in 2015 occurred after Abbas’s incitement.
Fortunately, Palestinian terrorism was less successful in the following years. The four years of the Trump Administration – which included the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there – had the lowest toll from terrorism in any four year period over the past many decades.
Regrettably, the trend would not continue.
In May 2021, more Palestinian Arabs took up arms against their Jewish neighbors. On May 5th, Palestinians shot three 19-year old Jewish students on the road, killing one, Yehuda Guetta. Israel commenced a search for the killer near Nablus with the assistance of the Palestinian Authority which angered many Palestinians. That action, together with Jews purchasing homes in the Sheik Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik section of Jerusalem, set the region aflame once again.
While Hamas was launching rockets into Israeli towns from Gaza, two new terrorist groups were born in the West Bank. Jenin Brigades (or Battalion) and the Lion’s Den have been attacking Jews in Israel, Judea and Samaria ever since.
While not directed by the PA, they have broad public support on the Arab street. According to a December 2022 Palestinian poll, while 59% think that the PA is a burden for Palestinians, 72% support the two new terrorist groups, and 87% are against the PA arresting anyone from those groups.
The poll is alarming showed that fifty percent of Palestinians support killing Israeli civilians inside of Israel (57% in Gaza and 46% in the West Bank).
That eleven percent gap between Gaza and the West Bank is important.
During the 2000-2004 Two Percent War / “Second Intifada”, the Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank had very similar approaches to murdering Israeli Jews, with Gazans even more in favor of murdering by about ten percentage points. That gap began to widen with Israel’s completion of the separation barrier, and really opened up between 2018 and 2020 to over 40 percentage points with few West Bankers favoring killing Israelis (not surprisingly, terrorism plummeted).
As described above, that gap now stands at only 11% as of December 2022, a level not seen since the Second Intifada.
Hamas-controlled Gaza has long supported terrorism against Israeli Jews, and while the Palestinian Authority incited terrorism, the territory under its control moved away from supporting it until 2021. Those days are now over, and the new terrorist groups in the West Bank have the people’s support to slaughter Israeli Jews with impunity.
Palestinian Arabs and their supporters claim that they have a “right of return” to towns in Israel based on two principles. One is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (established December 10, 1948) and the other United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (issued the following day, December 11, 1948). These are grossly misapplied, and if anyone wants to see a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, this issue is a complete roadblock.
UDHR, Article 13
Article 13 of the UDHR makes two statements that Palestinian propagandists assert give Palestinians the right to move into Israel:
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Regarding the first point, the freedom of movement is “within the borders”, meaning that any Israeli Jew or Arab should be free to live anywhere inside of their home country of Israel. This clause has nothing to do with Palestinian Arabs or wards of UNRWA who live outside of Israel. It simply means that Israeli Arabs should be free to move into Israeli towns – where grandparents may have lived or entirely new locations – as long as there are no security matters which render such movement impossible.
As it relates to the second point of leaving and returning to a country, there are two issues with Palestinians using this clause to move to Israel: the people and the land.
Israel is a new country, founded on May 14, 1948. There are only an estimated 20-30,000 elderly Arabs who lived in Israel on that date who now reside outside of the country’s recognized borders. The other 14 million Palestinian Arabs were born elsewhere and have no such claim to “return” to Israel, including the 6.4 million registered persons with UNRWA.
The second related matter has to do with the borders of Israel. If one were to take the non-factual view that the land of pre-1948 Palestine is a single country (it was a region / territory), then the millions of Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank today still live in that same country, so there is no argument under the second clause. Only the Stateless Arabs of Palestine (SAPs) in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan could argue to move into Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. The right of return in UDHR relates to returning to a country, not a particular town or region.
UNGA Resolution 194, Article 11
As opposed to the general UDHR meant for all people, UNGA Resolution 194 was specifically adopted for Palestinians. Article 11 calls out the matter of returning to “homes,” not a country as specified in UDHR:
“Resolves that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.“
At the most fundamental level, General Assembly resolutions are simply suggestions and not binding in law. Israel is not beholden to GA resolutions.
Critically, Palestinians have shown in deeds and words since the founding of Israel that they are not willing to “live at peace with their neighbors.” Add to the fact that only 20-30,000 people at this time are actually “refugees” makes this resolution relatively meaningless in application.
Two State Solution
Those people who back the notion of a “two-state solution” for the Israeli-Arab Conflict, with one state for Jews and one state for Arabs, should be appalled at the idea of a Palestinian “right of return” to the Jewish State. The Jewish State currently has 25% of its citizenry being non-Jews. It would destroy the basic principle of the “two state solution” for millions of Arabs to enter Israel. It is even more outrageous, when the United Nations demands that NO JEWS be allowed to live in a future Palestinian State. There’s no two-state solution if 50% of the Jewish State is comprised of non-Jews and 0% of the Arab State has Jews.
One State Solution
For advocates who argue for a single Jewish-Arab country and that Palestine was always a singular country, there are a couple of considerations.
One, Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza already live in such country, so are not and have never been “refugees” but just internally displaced people, taking billions of dollars from the world’s largess over the past decades. Resolution 194 Article 11 is specifically for refugees which excludes Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank. Only UDHR 13.1 would argue for freedom of movement within the single country, if security matters permit.
Secondly, there is only return to a country under UDHR 13.2, not to villages where grandparents once lived. Allowing refugees from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to move to the West Bank or Gaza satisfies this clause as much as moving inside the borders of Israel.
Importantly, Palestinians have no interest in either of these solutions. According to the PCPSR December 2022 poll, only 32% of Palestinians support a two-state solution and 26% support a one-state solution with equal rights for Jews and Arabs. That compares to 55% who favor terrorism against Israelis, to destroy the Jewish State and replace it with a single Arab state. It’s outrageous for Palestinians to demand the right to move to homes under UNGA Resolution 194, and skip the basic premise of coexistence that the resolution demands.
The poll also showed that the right of return issue was the second most important issue for Palestinian Arabs, behind establishing a state. The fact that UNGA Resolution 194 requires coexistence while Palestinians support new armed gangs can only be viewed as an attempt to better infiltrate and take over the Jewish State, as part of establishing a new Palestinian State.
Sentiment of Israeli Arabs
When polled in June 2018, Israeli Arabs were the most likely to cap Palestinian refugees coming to Israel (the proposed question used a figure of 100,000 people) with the balance going to a new state of Palestine and getting compensation for lost property. A whopping 84.1% of Israeli Arabs supported such limited “right of return”, compared to 21.3% of Israeli Jews and 47.5% of Palestinian Arabs. When offered a different formulation in which a capped number of Palestinians would get permanent resident status but not citizenship in Israel, and Jews in the West Bank would similarly get such status in a new Palestinian State, Israeli Arab support (63.8%) dwarfed that of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs with 36.1% and 31.7%, respectively.
Beyond the differences in granting a Palestinian “right of return” among Israeli Arabs, Jews and Palestinian, the same poll showed a big difference in support for a two state solution. Not surprisingly, no Israeli Arabs favored the idea of “apartheid” or expulsions of the other, while 14.9% of Israeli Jews voted in favor of minimal rights for Israeli Arabs, and 17.2% of Palestinians favored expelling all the Jews from the region.
SAPs in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan
The Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) only poll people in Gaza and the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have control and self-determination, having been given land to administer by Israel. The SAPs who might have some actual claims under UDHR and UNGA Resolution 194 are those in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan as described above but were not polled.
Almost all of the SAPs in Jordan have Jordanian citizenship so cannot be considered “refugees.” Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank after the 1948-9 War against Israel, and granted all Arabs living there citizenship– as long as they were not Jewish – in 1954. Palestinian-Chileans have the same non-claim to move to Israel as these Palestinian-Jordanians.
The Palestinians who might be considered “refugees” with rights to move to the holy land are those elderly Palestinians who left Israel in May 1948 and now reside in Lebanon and Syria, countries which have denied them citizenship for almost their entire lives. Of the 1.2 million SAPs in those two countries (18.8% of the total people getting services from UNRWA), around 2% are over 75 years old and would qualify to move to Israel under UDHR Article 13.2, and under UNGA Resolution 194, Article 11, if they are willing to live with Israelis in peace. While it is well understood that Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza have no desire to live peacefully with Israelis, it is possible that those in UNRWA camps in Lebanon and Syria might.
If one advocates for a two-state solution, one must simultaneously be against a Palestinian “right of return” for any Arab other than the elderly living in UNRWA camps in Lebanon and Syria. All other Palestinians wishing to return to the region would need to move to Gaza or the West Bank under the approval of the Palestinian Authority. This has long been the logical bipartisan approach of both Democrats and Republicans.
In summary, there are very few people who qualify for a Palestinian “right of return” and there is very little support for, or belief that it can be implemented peacefully amongst the people in the region.
During Chanukah and the week when the bible portion dealing with Joseph is read in synagogues around the world, Jews often make the trip to Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem / Nablus in Judea and Samaria / West Bank. Accompanied by a military escort, the cars often come under fire from local Palestinian Arabs, as was the case last week.
Ahmed Atef Daraghmeh, a 23-year old Palestinian man from a nearby city, was armed and involved in the shooting attack on the Jewish convoy, and was shot and killed by Israeli troops. The news media covered the story very differently.
The Jordan Times headline was “Israeli forces kill Palestinian militant in West Bank clashes,” making it clear that the Palestinian was an armed militant. The article added “Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said Daraghmeh was a member of its military wing who “was killed by occupation bullets during clashes at dawn on Thursday”.
Al Monitor picked up the exact same headline and story as above, as produced by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The Times of Israel similarly led with “Hamas ‘fighter’ killed during armed clash with IDF in Nablus.” The Israeli site was more clear labeling the Palestinian a terrorist in the article.
Other Arab and Muslim sites reoriented the story.
Turkish site TRT World‘s headline was “Palestinian football player killed by Israeli army in West Bank,” made it sound like Israeli forces went into a soccer stadium and wantonly attacked someone kicking a ball. The sub-header “23-year-old Ahmad Atef Daraghmeh was killed, and five other Palestinians injured during an Israeli army raid in Nablus,” made the Israeli visit an incursion rather than a visit to a Jewish holy site.
Free Press Kashmir picked up the footballer focus with “Palestinian footballer shot dead by Israeli forces in West Bank”
Daily Sabah wrote “Israeli army kills another Palestinian man in occupied West Bank,” skipping the militant’s profession and making it sound like Israelis were on a daily warpath.
Arab News extended the story with “Palestine’s FA asks FIFA to probe reported Israeli killing of footballer,” connecting the story to the just concluded World Cup.
Al Jazeera headline was “Palestinian footballer killed by Israel in West Bank: Medics”
Middle East Eye: “West Bank: Palestinian footballer killed by Israeli forces in overnight raid”
Middle East Monitor: “Israel kills Palestinian footballer in Nablus” and led with “Just days after the FIFA World Cup during which the issue of Palestine featured prominently, Israeli occupation forces have today shot dead a Palestinian footballer.”
Tasnim News headline was “Young Palestinian Soccer Player Killed by Israeli Forces during West Bank Raid”
The anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss wrote “Soccer player and resistance fighter Ahmad Daraghmeh killed in Nablus,” covering his profession and alluding to his military activities.
Most of the Muslim and Arab world led with Daraghmeh’s profession which had nothing to do with the incident, as did a commentator from BBC, as reported by the Jewish Chronicle:
“The dead Palestinian footballer lamented by soccer pundit Gary Lineker was actually a Hamas terrorist killed after firing on Israeli soldiers. The former England striker and BBC presenter sparked fury after he described the death as “awful” without giving the context…. Mr Lineker had voiced his outrage over the shooting in response to a tweet that read: “This #Palestinian soccer player Ahmed Daraghmeh was waiting for a great future in representing his country’s team, #Palestine. The bullets of the occupation stopped his football dream & took his life treacherously. A little while ago in #Nablus. #FreePalestine #Ukraine #sportgala”.”
Lineker has a history of retweeting Palestinian propaganda and anti-Semitic vitriol. He has 1.1 million followers who read such posts. Add that total to the readership of the Arab sites, and millions of people were fed false news that Israel was targeting Palestinian athletes for assassination.
Hamas militants are also doctors, merchants, teachers and athletes. It doesn’t absolve them of their heinous terrorism – let alone make Israel the aggressor – but highlights how mainstream the political-terrorist group is in Palestinian society.
On December 23, 2015, two frustrated Palestinians aged 21, Anan Abu Habseh and Issa Yassin Asaf from the Qalandiyah refugee camp, came to Jerusalem. Inspired by Palestinian polls which showed 67% support stabbing Israeli Jews (even higher in refugee camps), they left their cellphones and ID cards at home after posting on social media that they were looking to become martyrs. The pair went looking for Jews who walked the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem with impunity, as if their “filthy feet” (to quote Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas) had any right to walk on purely Islamic holy land.
Rabbi Reuven (Eduardo) Birmacher, age 45, had just finished teaching bible classes to Spanish speaking students at Yeshiva Aish Hatorah in the Old City. He had moved to Israel from Argentina and loved teaching Judaism to young men in Jerusalem. His fluency in Spanish made him an excellent teacher to students who came to Israel from Spanish speaking countries, such as Argentina, Costa Rica and Uruguay.
As Rabbi Birmacher was heading home to his wife and seven children out of the Jaffa Gate, the two Palestinian Arabs set upon and repeatedly stabbed him. He died a short time later.
Rabbi Reuven Birmacher, age 45, a teacher from Aish Hatorah Yeshiva, stabbed by two Palestinian Arabs because he was a Jew in Jerusalem.
Israeli border police shot and killed the two Palestinians who had to resort to violence because Jews had the audacity of teaching Judaism in Jerusalem.
The father of Anan Abu Habseh celebrated the actions of his son. As posted on Fatah’s website, Muhammed Abu Habseh said “with our skulls we pave the path to victory, until the liberation of Palestine. Our compass will not deviate from Jerusalem nor from Palestine.”
The United States House of Representatives had just recently met on October 22, 2015 to discuss the incitement to hatred and violence of Palestinian leadership. It said of PA President Abbas and US Secretary of State John Kerry:
this culture of hate is being cultivated by Palestinian leaders. After being exposed day in and day out to these types of messages for most of their young lives, many of these young people will react and once the
Palestinian President declares, in his words, ``We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem'' there are consequences to that.
And it doesn't help when those in the media--or the Secretary of State for that matter--give this incitement a pass.
The terrorist-apologists are telling you that Arabs resort to violence. If only there were no Jews in the holy land, they wouldn’t have to kill them.