Most Palestinians favor violence over talks, poll shows

Most Palestinians favor violence over talks, poll shows

RAMALLAH, West Bank: A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the firing of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

The pollster who conducted the survey, Khalil Shikaki, said he was shocked because it showed greater support for violence than any of the surveys he had conducted over the past 15 years in the Palestinian areas. Never before, he said, had a majority favored an end to negotiations or the firing of rockets at Israel.


His explanation for the shift, one widely reflected in the Palestinian media, is that recent actions by Israel, especially a series of attacks on Gaza that killed nearly 130 people, an undercover operation in Bethlehem that killed four militants, and the announced expansion of several West Bank settlements, has led to despair and rage among average Palestinians who thirst for revenge. [...]


Rob said…
There is a widespread belief, among the more naive and liberal, that World Peace is just as easy as everyone laying down their arms.

What studies like this show is that common people everywhere are not suffering war and injustice due to rich, cruel overlords who goad them into war, but rather they suffer because they choose the suffering.

It is not a pleasant course of thought, especially for idealistic, college-educated white Americans, who are sure that they know how to solve these problems and are equally certain that these poor people caught in conflict are simply misunderstood.

A diplomat from the Clinton Administration wrote a book, and did some NPR interviews, about the realization he had in the 1990's regarding these issues of war and peace and justice. He said something like this,

"Ask people anywhere if they want peace and they will tell you, yes, yes, we are so tired of fighting and suffering. Then ask them if they will accept making concessions to their ethnic enemy (Bosnian, Jew, Croat, Serb, Kurd, Sunni, etc) in return for this peace and they will say Hell no! We will never deal with those dogs! Death first!"

This is why a lot of peace talks are just opportunities for bureaucrats to drink fine wines and fly on big airplanes. Until the people choose peace, there will be no peace. I am not being cavalier or hard-nosed from my safe vantage point, it's just logical and true. Thank God, where I live we don't have exactly that kind of rancor for our neighbors, but we did 150 years ago and Americans killed hundreds of thousands of their countrymen in Civil War for the same reason: niether side (and I mean the common people, not the politicians) was willing to compromise and preferred spending blood and treasure rather than negotiating.

More specifically, this is obviously bad news for the region. Large groups of people like this do not usually change their minds quickly.

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