More than half of the Palestinian Arabs who participated in a survey by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency said it was “disgraceful” that their government, the Palestinian Authority, helped Israel put out last week’s devastating Carmel wildfire.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has won praise from the international media for sending Palestinian firefighters to battle the Carmel blaze alongside Israelis and firefighters from across Europe.
But most Palestinians felt Israel should have received no assistance. Some commented on media websites suggesting the fire was the judgment of Allah against Israel for “stealing” this land. Less than half felt the Palestinians had to help as a humanitarian duty, regardless of Israel being their enemy.
Nearly 50,000 Palestinians took part in the poll, making it a fairly firm indicator of sentiments among average Palestinians.
The disconnect between the international praise for Abbas and the results of the poll again highlights one of the main shortcomings of the Western-driven Middle East peace process. The international community is so determined to oversee a Middle East peace deal that they are ignoring the fact that the foundations for true peaceful coexistence simply aren’t there.
Abbas is held aloft as a symbol of “moderation,” a genuine Arab peacemaker. Yet his inflammatory words in Arabic to his own people are ignored, as are the true sentiments of the “Palestinian street,” which have been repeatedly revealed by public opinion polls.
The most damning example of just how potentially destructive this “see no evil” approach by the West can be came during the 2007 Palestinian legislative election. The West believed the Palestinians were more ready than ever to conclude a compromise peace deal with Israel and live side-by-side with their Jewish neighbors, and pressed for open democratic elections.
The Palestinians responded by overwhelming voting the blood-soaked Hamas terrorist organization into power.