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March 31, 2009

The (Non-)Relationship Between Terrorism and Occupation

There are many points that disprove the canard, and default argument of some anti-Israel activists, that casts Israel's presence in the territories as the root of the Arab-Israel conflict and the cause of Palestinian violence. Not least is the fact that the conflict existed long before the occupation began in 1967. Jews were massacred in Hebron in 1929. Arab riots in 1936 targeted Jewish lives and property. The 1948 war occured 19 years before Israel gained control the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The 1967 war was the cause of, rather than the effect of, the occupation.

Now, a new bit of information helps demonstrate the fallacy of the occupation-causes-violence thesis.

A March 2009 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 47 percent of West Bank Palestinians supported armed attacks against civilians in Israel vs. 49 percent that opposed such attacks.

In the unoccupied Gaza Strip, where there is nary an Israeli settler nor a soldier, support for terrorism is much higher: 67 percent of Gaza Palestinians support attacking Israeli civilians, as opposed to 32 percent who are against such attacks.

(When one takes into account both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, 54 percent of Palestinians support, and 43 percent oppose, terror attacks against Israelis.)

Another interesting result from the poll:

There is a proposal that after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the settlement of all issues in dispute, including the refugees and Jerusalem issues, there will be a mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinians people. Do you agree or disagree to this proposal?

Definitely agree5.6
agree44.3
disagree36.9
definitely disagree10.6

In other words, even if there were a Palestinian state and every single issue in dispute between Palestinians and Israelis were settled, only half of Palestinians would recognize the Jewish state.

Interestingly, a higher number of Palestinians (58 percent) expressed support for the "Saudi peace plan" (also know as the "Arab peace initiative"), which calls for peace and normal relations between Arab countries and Israel if Arab demands are met. The discrepancy between the two results could be seen as suggesting that some Palestinians don't think the Saudi plan envisions recognizing Israel in its current form. They may believe fulfillment of the plan's demand for a "just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem" would lead to an influx of Palestinians into Israel, which would make the Jews a minority in a new Arab-majority state.

Suffice to say that Israelis and Jews don't view this as a "just solution."

Posted by GI at March 31, 2009 11:39 AM

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