Do Palestinians hold some responsibility for their own misery?

As a Canadian, I was insulted by the Palestinians throwing eggs and shoes at my country’s representative, and as an Arab I was embarrassed. This incident prompted me to wonder: Does this behaviour tell me something about the Israel / Arab conflict? Is it possible that this appalling behaviour, against the representative of a major Western nation, is related to the Palestinians’ predicament?

Although much of the world considers the Palestinians to be victims, and they are, should we also consider the possibility that they are in a large measure responsible for their own misery?

First of all, the Palestinians aren’t the only victims in this conflict.  Jewish refugees from Arab countries were victims too.  The fact that Israel has had to defend itself against wars and terrorism for over 66 years makes every Israeli a victim as well.  The difference however is that Jewish refugees have moved on.  They settled either in Israel or elsewhere in the world.  Israelis, although victims of war and terrorism, just live with it, and they certainly don’t throw shoes at foreign dignitaries.

Secondly, it is not by accident that Palestinians are widely known for never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.  Throwing eggs and shoes at the Canadian Foreign Minister was a missed opportunity to show dignity, even when visited by someone that they don’t always agree with.  Instead of being dignified, Palestinians chose to make their rudeness known to the world.

When Arabs refused the UN partition plan in 1947, they created the seed of the Palestinian misfortune.  When Palestinians refused from 1948 to 1967 to create a state, they perpetuated that misfortune.  When they continued terrorist attacks and refused every two-state deal offered to them, they accentuated the misfortune.  And these are just the highlights.

When someone claims that Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas is the best hope for peace, I question why he regularly glorifies terrorists and promotes hatred using lies.  Inevitably, the response I am given is that Abbas is doing his best, and that if he did more, he would likely be killed by Palestinian extremists.  So here we have a coward of a leader leading a people that cannot be trusted to respect the rule of law.  Is that not the fault of Palestinians?

Palestinians created Fatah.  They fought a war against their Arab brothers in Jordan, and they fought a war against their other Arab brothers in Lebanon.  They created Hamas.  They elected corrupt politicians and terrorists.  They failed to build Gaza when Israel evacuated it.  They turned their opportunity at democracy into a farce.  They failed in almost every way for over 66 years.

Blaming the Palestinians for their own actions is clearly not a popular proposition.  The world rarely demands much of the Palestinians.  Their behaviour, whether it is incitement to hatred or missile attacks on Israel, is generally excused, until Israel responds; at which point Israel is accused by its friends of responding too harshly, and it is accused by others of much worse.

It is often said that the world treats Palestinians like children, but in fact it is more than that.  Children are usually disciplined when they misbehave.  When such behaviour is excused or used to blame others, it escalates.  That never fails with children, and it does not fail with Palestinians.

Although many factors have contributed to the Palestinians’ current quagmire, their own actions are a large part of it.  They must be held accountable for their own behaviour if anything is to ever improve for them.  That’s not politically correct to say, but sadly it is true.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Fred Maroun writes for Gatestone Institute.
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