Apr. 5, 2016
- What Palestinians Think about the Knife Intifada – Daniel Polisar
Not a single leading figure in Israel’s current government or any of its predecessors has proposed building a synagogue on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, or suggested harming the Muslim holy sites that have stood on it for the past thirteen centuries. Similarly, no Israeli government has taken any steps that could plausibly be interpreted as indicating an interest in such actions. Yet none of this seems to have the slightest effect on the sense among most Palestinians that Israel aims to destroy the Muslim holy sites.
Among residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem, 57% said that most of the Palestinians who fell in attacks did not try to stab Israelis, despite the widely available videos of the stabbings, despite the fact that family members of many of the perpetrators publicly took pride in what they had done, and despite the fact that leading Palestinian figures and media often celebrated these attacks.
A December 2015 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) found that 62% rejected a deal for a two-state solution modeled on the Clinton parameters, and 61% rejected the idea of mutual recognition between “Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people.”
What has changed is the belief that the attacks are an effective means of securing gains. In December, 51% thought that continuing the uprising would advance Palestinian rights in ways negotiations could not. By March, only 43 thought the current confrontations would serve Palestinian national interests more effectively than negotiations, while the figure in the West Bank decreased to 36%. The writer is provost and executive vice-president of Shalem College in Jerusalem.(Mosaic)