With all Israel’s recent challenges and controversy over judicial reform, the state of the economy and social divisions, we missed what should have been one of the biggest headlines in recent weeks.
On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, the reputable Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 66% of Palestinians believe that Israel will not celebrate its 100th anniversary. Only 27% think the Jewish state will still exist in 25 years.
These results would likely result in a mixture of astonishment and bemusement amongst Israelis, given that the idea that a fully-functioning economically and militarily powerful state will not exist in just over a generation is, to say the least, implausible.
While the survey doesn’t teach us much about the future of the State of Israel, however, it does tell us that two-thirds of the Palestinian public believes we will soon be gone.
Clearly, the Palestinians see us as weak, transient and, above all, possible to defeat.
For 100 years, the primary goal of the Palestinian national movement was first to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state and then, after it was established, to destroy it.
Like most of the rest of the world, many Israelis believe the claims that this century-old conflict is about land, “occupation,” “settlements,” Jerusalem or refugees. In fact, it has only ever been about one thing: The violent rejection of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish people’s ancestral and indigenous homeland.
That is how the conflict started in the early part of the 20th century and, it appears, a majority of Palestinians believe it will end in their ultimate victory.
This belief comes from two sources.
The first is the incessant incitement and brainwashing by official Palestinian religious figures and political officials, as well as Palestinian media and educational materials.
For example, according to Palestinian Media Watch, in 2021 the Palestinian Authority’s highest religious authority, Grand Mufti Muhammad Hussein, assured PA TV viewers that the destruction of Israel is only a matter of time, along with the “liberation” of Jerusalem and its “return to Islam.”
Well-made videos are regularly released for Palestinian children and young people on popular social media platforms that claim Israel’s end is inevitable and just as the Crusaders were eventually driven out, the Jews will be as well.
The second source is Israel itself.
Since the early 1990s, Israel has shown that it is desperate for peace. As a result, it has taken actions that actually harmed the safety of its citizens and showed that Israel is prepared to concede and compromise on its national security.
The Palestinian leadership has shown that, if it stands firm, it will receive more and more from Israel. The Oslo process, which we are still trapped in 30 years later, demonstrated to the Palestinians that we have given up trying to win the war against Palestinian rejectionism.
Palestinians see Israeli decisions to give away major parts of Judea and Samaria, disengage from Gaza, release thousands of terrorists, hand suitcases full of protection money to Hamas and promise to divide Jerusalem and give up control of the Temple Mount as proof of this.
They see that the “strongest military in the region” runs with indecent haste to Cairo every time Hamas or Islamic Jihad fires a volley of rockets at Israel’s south.
They see a Palestinian leader who says he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, embraces and financially rewards mass murderers, and compares Israel to Nazis with no response from Israel apart from the odd press release.
They see an Israel uninterested or unable to achieve victory in this long-standing conflict.
Thus, the Palestinians believe the Jewish state will soon cease to exist. This provides the motivation and incentive for ongoing terrorism.
Every Palestinian terrorist who picks up a knife or a gun, or launches a rocket, believes that their actions are hastening the end of Israel. Our response, or lack thereof, merely confirms this belief.
For Israel to stop the violence, it must show that it has the will to survive and achieve ultimate victory. It must show the Palestinian population in actions and deeds that Israel is strong, robust and enduring.
It must convince the Palestinians that Israel is permanent and break their will to carry on fighting by forcing them to accept that they cannot achieve their war aims.
Once the Palestinians have been disabused of their belief in Israel’s temporary nature, our leadership can take steps towards accommodation and peace, but not before.
The only way to do this is through an Israeli victory.
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