What have the Palestinians ever done for the Palestinians?

What risks have “moderate” Palestinian leaders taken to resolve the conflict? The answer is: none. Op-ed.

David Stone ,

Palestinian Authority children taught to shoot
Palestinian Authority children taught to shoot
Flash 90

Part II of the two part article titled "What has anyone ever done for the Palestinians?"

(For part I, What has Israel ever done for the Palestinians, click here.)

What is the essence of the disagreement between Israelis and Palestinians? According to the prevailing “common sense” or conventional wisdom, it is axiomatic that Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, along with their myriad supporters, line up against each other in a zero-sum, existential struggle for the future of a relatively small patch of Middle Eastern contested territory.

Within this complex web of assumptions lies one specific core belief – that “Palestine” and its_ supporters are, ipso facto, pro-Palestinian. The evidence, however, points in a different direction.

Here are three indicators that, taken together, most reasonable people would agree reflect a genuinely pro-Palestinian position: a consistent commitment to workable Palestinian self-determination, a profound concern for Palestinian welfare, and the taking of significant risks to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Realising the universal principle of self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians need not be a zero-sum game. Only Israel has taken concrete steps on this path towards, in today’s jargon, Two States for Two Peoples (2S2P) by repeatedly agreeing to territorial compromise – and, on occasions, unilaterally relinquishing territory – to achieve that outcome. We’re still awaiting a Palestinian leader who declares unequivocally, in Arabic, that Jews are as entitled as Palestinians to sovereignty in their homeland.


We’re still awaiting a Palestinian leader who declares unequivocally, in Arabic, that Jews are as entitled as Palestinians to sovereignty in their homeland.
Second, which items in the following descriptors of the Palestinian Authority suggest a serious desire to promote Palestinian welfare: lack of democracy, a disastrous human rights record, the persistent refusal to normalise relations with Israel regardless of circumstances (including in the midst of a major global pandemic), decades of corruption and poor governance that deprives ordinary families of provision of basic needs while lining the pockets of the leadership, the wasting of precious resources on paying terrorist salaries, the mounting of relentless, vicious anti-Israel campaigns in the global media, the UN, and the International Criminal Court?

Third, what risks have “moderate” Palestinian leaders taken to resolve the conflict? The answer is: none. Instead, the PA brainwashes Palestinian children into hating Jews, glorifies Jihadist violence against civilians, incentivises terrorism through its “Pay-To-Slay” policy (whereby families of terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails are generously reimbursed with “salaries” commensurate with the seriousness of the crimes), and refuses to negotiate an end to the conflict – all in clear violation of the 1994 Oslo Accords, signed by Israelis and Palestinians.

Most damagingly, it maintains the fiction of a Two State Solution (note – not 2S2P) that requires implementation of the so-called Right of Return, a mantra with no basis in international law, for the millions of descendants of the Palestinian refugees. Since Israel has no intention of committing national suicide, this insane demand guarantees ongoing conflict and perpetuates the absence of a Palestinian state.

Instead of being challenged on their delusional and self-defeating intransigence, President Abbas and his colleagues are cheered to the rafters by the Arab League, the UN, numerous governments, “human rights” NGOs, academics, clerics and journalists. How can a posture that leads up a permanent political cul-de-sac conceivably be interpreted as “pro-Palestinian”?

And what have self-proclaimed “pro-Palestinian” governments and activists around the world actually done to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian Arabs? Here’s a sample of their contribution to date:

-goading the Arabs into an unnecessary war against Israel in 1947 that caused the Palestinian Arab refugee problem (the Naqba);

-hijacking the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (that was established as a temporary humanitarian relief agency) to weaponise the refugees as a permanent and ever-enlarging incubator of Jew-hating terrorists;

-turning a blind eye to the denial of civil rights for Palestinians living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere;

-expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Kuwait after the Gulf War in 1991;

-ignoring Assad’s murder of around 4,000 Palestinians during the Syrian civil war;

-enabling the fanatical Iranian mullahs to pour billions of dollars into the coffers of their genocidal twin offspring, Hamas and Hezbollah;

-and promoting the anti-Semitic BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement in a futile addendum to the failed military and terrorist campaigns.

In what parallel universe can any of that be viewed as “pro-Palestinian”?

The Palestinian Arab leadership, along with their many friends in the Arab League and the international community, have repeatedly betrayed the Palestinians by espousing or at least acquiescing in violent rejectionism and trumpeting a fictional and unattainable Right of Return. And most so-called “pro-Palestinians” abroad have done absolutely nothing to meet the needs of the Palestinians. They have instead ruthlessly exploited them, wittingly or otherwise, as a front for anti-Israelism (or “anti-Zionism”) and anti-Semitism.

To suggest that Israel has done incomparably more for the Palestinian Arabs than the Palestinians’ own leaders might appear to contradict common sense. Yet it is the case.

Einstein (allegedly) thought that “common sense” amounted to “the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen”. In the world’s perception of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, prejudice trumps evidence to such a degree that it may take a genius of Einsteinian stature to remove it.

David Stone is Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology at the University of Glasgow, UK. His previous positions included Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (1981-85), and Senior Medical Adviser to the Scottish Government’s Chief Medical Officer (2005-8). He is the Academic Director of StandWithUs UK, a pro-Israel NGO that advocates for peace based on education.

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