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Who are the innocent Palestinians?

A woman holds a poster of Israeli hostage Omer Neutra during a memorial vigil for the Israeli people killed by Hamas during the October 7 attack, in New York City on November 1, 2023.
A woman holds a poster of Israeli hostage Omer Neutra during a memorial vigil for the Israeli people killed by Hamas during the October 7 attack, in New York City on November 1, 2023. | Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

A recent poll by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) painted a vivid picture of who the innocent Palestinian Arabs are. The current situation begs the question as to whether anyone in the world actually cares about the well being of Palestinian Arabs, or if this is just a cover for antisemites to find an excuse to blame Israel again and again.

A wartime poll was conducted between October 31 and November 7, 2023, among 668 people in the Palestinian Authority including Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

So, who are the innocent Palestinian Arabs?

The poll shows that Palestinian Arabs roundly support terror against Israel, reject peace with Israel, and deny Israel’s very right to exist.

To its credit, ARWAD actually published these results. They did so with no shame. But they should be ashamed, for their society and everything it says about the century-long dehumanization of Jews and delegitimization of Israel. Maybe it depicts their desire to portray this reality in the hope that there will be change. However, as deep as the hostility to Israel is, it’s hard to imagine even a handful of righteous people looking to change their society rather than celebrate its deeply rooted evil.

The AWRAD poll depicts widespread hostility, hatred, and legitimization of terror. It did not start just because of the war, and certainly not as a response to the horrific October 7 massacre against Israel. It shows that innocent Palestinian Arabs celebrate it. These results are the product of hateful incitement against Israel from long before the advent of the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s.

The results must be a wake-up call for Israel, the broader world, and anyone in the international community who truly seeks peace in the Middle East. It underscores that the worn-out paradigms of the past are invalid and the world needs to look through the prism of helping to resolve a problem based on reality, not how people want to think the world ought to be.

The poll’s overall results indicate that an overwhelming percentage of Palestinian Arabs:

  • Overwhelmingly support the October 7 massacre against Israel (75%).
  • Support the genocidal creation of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea” (74.7%).
  • Seek the restoration of “historical Palestine” as a final resolution (71.1%) (even though there was never an independent entity under Arab authority known as Palestine to restore).
  • Reject coexistence with Israel (85.9%).

As if in a high school popularity contest for homecoming king and queen among competing terrorist organizations, Palestinian Arabs:

  • Believe that Hamas plays a somewhat to very positive role (76%).
  • Believe that Palestinian Islamic Jihad plays a somewhat to very positive role (84%).
  • Believe that Fatah’s (the PLO) terror wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, plays a somewhat to very positive role (79.8%).
  • Believe that Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Kassam Brigades, plays a somewhat to very positive function (88.6%).

Innocent Palestinian Arabs also harbor unsurprisingly antisemitic, and anti-Western views, and believe that they are victims and not the perpetrators:

  • 91.5% think that support for Israel is the result of the “influence of the Israeli lobby.”
  • 85.5% think that support for Israel is the result of “hatred of Arabs.”
  • 79.5% agreed with the belief that this support is the result of “hatred of Muslims and Islam.”

Biting the hands that feed them, which have provided untold millions to fund their state, innocent Palestinian Arabs:

  • See the U.S. role as unfavorable (98.2%). 
  • See the UK role as unfavorable (96.7%).
  • See the EU role as unfavorable (92.6%).

But innocent Palestinian Arabs disdain is not just for the Western hands that feed them. Within the Arab world, innocent Palestinian Arabs:

  • See the United Arab Emirates playing the most negative role (96%).
  • See Saudi Arabia playing the second most negative role (95.5%).
  • See Egypt playing the third most negative role (84.6%).
  • See Jordan playing the fourth negative role (75.6%).

It’s noteworthy that these countries have either made peace with Israel or were close to that before October 7. No doubt innocent Palestinian Arabs must hold in high esteem countries that are rocks of stability and democracy in advocating for their well-being such as Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

Looking locally at their own society, Palestinian Arabs want more authority given to the most hardline terrorists, in a population where all their leaders come from terrorist organizations. Palestinian Arabs believe:

  • The Palestinian Authority plays a negative role (87.3%).
  • Fatah (the PLO) plays a positive role. (23.2%).
  • Hamas should continue to play a role in the Palestinian government (85.8%).
  • Support a “national unity” government of Fatah (the PLO) and Hamas. (72.2%).
  • The war will end with a Palestinian victory that “achieves the liberation of Gaza from the Israeli invasion” (74.3%).

Palestinian Arabs’ positive perception of Hamas remains high despite its role in the October 7 massacre and despite its use of the local population as human shield.

To be clear, I don’t want to see the death or suffering of any actual innocent Palestinian Arabs. Nor do the vast majority of Israelis. The long-held truism remains: If they were to lay down their weapons today, they could have peace tomorrow. If we were to lay down our weapons, they would slaughter us.  October 7 was just one confirmation of this.  

Israelis desperately want peace. But when we look at statistics like these among “innocent Palestinian Arabs,” it makes us question whether there are any actual peace partners on the other side. It’s not only impossible under Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. In the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank, the percentage of people who hold negative and genocidal views of Israel is greater. According to the AWRAD poll, innocent Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank support the massacre against Israel at a far greater rate (83.1%) than those in Gaza (63.6%).

The AWRAD poll shows that innocent Palestinians are delusional and hold self-defeating views.  It raises the legitimate question as to whether Israel has, or ever will have, peace partners.

Jonathan Feldstein is President and CEO of the Genesis 123 Foundation and RunforZion.com

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