July 12, 2019
“West Bank grows calmer as pocketbook issues take priority of protests” is the headline of a New York Times story today. It seems that the Palestinian jihadists of the old intifadas are more concerned about making a living than killing Israelis. Writes reporters Isabel Kershner:
BILIN, West Bank — On a recent weekday, Muhammad Abu Rahma returned to the place where Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers used to clash in weekly confrontations that made the West Bank village of Bilin a symbol of resistance against the Israeli occupation.
But this time, he came not to protest but to picnic with his wife and three children. He had served three terms in prison for his activities at the height of the protests. But now, at 33, he had a family and a job as a garbage collector.
“People want money to live, and permits,” he said, referring to the Israeli permits allowing laborers to work in Israel, where they can earn twice as much as they do in the Palestinian territories.
It turns out that time is on Israel’s side, as Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and other Israeli analysts have argued for years. The Arab “demographic time bomb” turned out to be a dud, as fertility rates plunge across the Muslim world, a phenomenon I discussed in my 2011 book How Civilizations Die. In a 2011 analysis for Asia Times, I counseled Israel not to attempt to make peace with a Palestinian population heavily tilted towards hot-headed youngsters, and to wait until the declining Palestinian fertility rate had raised the average age of the West Bank population. Like Northern Ireland, the militants would find themselves married with mortgages (at least those who survived). Prime Minister Netanyahu generously commented on the article when it was published.