Ok, that is not entirely true. Deep down, everyone wants a better quality of life for themselves and their loved ones. But, contrary to the assertions of the media and world leaders, it is not that desire for a better lifestyle that motivates most Palestinian Arabs in their conflict with Israel.
Again and again, Western power brokers and mainstream media reports claim that the Palestinians only engage in acts of terrorist violence or verbally assault Israel’s right to exist because they themselves live in such squalor and under such oppression.
According to that line of thinking, if Israel somehow better facilitated economic prosperity and freedom of movement in the Palestinian areas, there may still be disagreement and negotiations over sovereignty, but the conflict would be far less bloody and far easier to solve.
In a joint press conference on Wednesday with Israeli Minister of Industry and Trade Benjamin Ben-Eliezer in Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority Economic Minister Hasan Abu-Libdeh gave the lie to that position.
Abu-Libdeh insisted that economic growth and prosperity is not a substitute for a peace agreement. He then clarified that a peace agreement in his view means a full Israeli surrender to Palestinian demands, including the removal of every Jew from Judea, Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority also wants to flood the rest of Israel with millions of so-called “Palestinian refugees,” leading to the demographic destruction of the Jewish State.
A Palestinian researcher recently concluded that the economic situation in the Palestinian areas is not bad enough to cause young Palestinian Arabs to risk or sacrifice their lives in order to kill Jews.
Bassam Yousef Banat of Al Quds University in Jerusalem found that most Palestinians-turned-terrorists were in fact college educated, were from middle-class families and had jobs. He expressed anger that others attribute acts of Palestinian terrorists to economic suffering, as that belittles their “martyrdom.”
“As for talking about psychological, social and economic factors and other motives for martyrdom, it is wrong to associate Palestinian martyrs with these factors since this underestimated the real value of a martyr and makes him/her some kind of social suicide,” wrote Banat.
Instead, most Palestinians who engage in or support the use of terrorism against Israelis are motivated by religious (Islamic) or nationalistic views. This is further evidenced by the overwhelming success of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian Authority legislative election.
Most in the West have attributed the Hamas victory to Palestinian frustration with the corruption and poor performance of the ruling Fatah party. But the truth is that there were many other parties also running on a platform of reform. Hamas was the only one that was ready to reform and had succeeded in killing a lot of Jews. Hamas won the vote.
Palestinian terrorists and the general public that supports their actions are not motivated by socio-economic factors. They are not fighting to secure a more prosperous lifestyle. To assert as much is to place the past two decades in a vacuum, while ignoring the history of the past 100 years. Rather, they are motivated by a desire to see Israel’s restoration reversed, to see the Jews removed from “their land.”