This election gives the lie to two fallacious yet extremely influential ideas upon which American foreign policy has been based. First, the Arab/Israeli dispute remains intractable not because Palestinian Arab leadership is corrupt or evil (though it is), but because Palestinian Arabs, like their Muslim brethren across the globe, hate Israel and want the Jews thrown into the sea.
For decades, we’ve seen blame cast on Yassar Arafat, his Fatah movement, and the Israelis. The one group that has by and large escaped criticism is the Palestinian Arab population. We would prefer that the large mass of Palestinian Arabs be peace-loving, open-minded human beings who wish only to see their children grow and prosper in a society that values coexistence, education, and liberty. Unfortunately, that hope has blinded us to a larger truth: the Palestinian Arabs, as a people, are not peace-loving. They support terrorism because they think it right, not because they are desperate or hopeless. They support the annihilation of the State of Israel not because they have been misled, but because they truly – and religiously -- believe that Israel must be wiped off the map.
It is difficult to misread Palestinian Arab hatred for the West and for Jews in particular, but somehow we have deliberately ignored all the evidence in favor of more palatable motivations. It’s about economic discontent, we tell ourselves. It’s about supposed Israeli occupation of formerly Arab-occupied lands. It’s about this or that. It’s never about simple hatred, and it is never about Islam.
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