July 30, 2019
- PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has said numerous times that the Palestinians will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. In other words, the Palestinian president explicitly rejects the foundation of a two-state solution: two states for two peoples, one Arab and one Jewish. Perhaps that is why the Palestinians have, for decades, repeatedly rejected offers of statehood. They seem to care more about hurting Israel than helping themselves.
- Palestinian hatred toward Israel and Jews is at the core of the Palestinians’ collective identity. Try to think of anything unique that defines a positive Palestinian nationality and distinguishes the Palestinians from the rest of the Arabs of the Middle East beyond opposition to Israel. Indeed, Palestinian national identity is based on seeking Israel’s demise, rather than positive attributes of the Palestinian people.
- Before 1948, Jewish residents in British Mandatory Palestine were called “Palestinians.” The Arabs living in Palestine were called Arabs. No one called the Arabs living in Palestine at the time the Palestinian people, including the residents themselves. In fact, many were migrants, or descendants of migrants, who came from the surrounding Arab countries from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century.
- Between 1949 and 1967, when Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza, the Palestinian Arabs did not seriously seek to create a Palestinian state and no one tried to do so because Palestinian nationalism did not really exist. Indeed, UN Resolution 242 after the 1967 Six-Day War did not mention “Palestine” or “Palestinians.”
- Later, a Palestinian people with a distinct nationality emerged, but as an opposition movement against Israel, offering no vision other than destroying Israel and replacing it. Palestinians need to question what Palestinian nationality really entails. They have created a national identity whose only clear pillar is blindly opposing Israel.
- Yes, there are countless Palestinians who are kind, wonderful, talented, and deserve to live in dignity. And yes, the Palestinians should one day have their own, independent state, existing next to Israel in peace. But that will never happen if the collective identity that defines the Palestinians is only about the “evils” of Israel and not about the Palestinians themselves.