Making sense of Palestinian logic

Therefore, the Palestinians play a game of chicken, disturbing the quiet in return for an Israeli payoff.

May 13, 2019 21:53
1 minute read.
Making sense of Palestinian logic

ron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel as seen from the city of Ashkelon, Israel Ashkelon. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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Palestinians do weird things: About two weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority, which rules most of the West Bank, refused to accept the tax revenues it is owed by the Israeli government.

Then just over a week ago, Hamas, which rules all of Gaza, launched some 700 rockets against Israel.

Both of these are, on the surface, self-defeating steps that make no sense. Not taking the money means the PA could collapse; firing rockets means Hamas is getting battered militarily by the far superior Israeli forces.

So, why do the leaders of these quasi-governmental entities take such apparently self-defeating steps?

Because they bring results. Follow the logic:
• Israel is thriving in nearly every domain, from demographics to economics, from democracy to cultural creativity.
• The Palestinians feel isolated and weak because the Arab states have basically come to terms with their existence, leaving the struggle to secondary players such as Iran, Turkey and the global Left.
• No matter their weakness, leaders of the PA and Hamas remain committed to the elimination of the Jewish state, meaning that they cannot live in peace next to Israel.
• Contrarily, the Israeli public cherishes normality and, especially since the 1993 Oslo I Accord, has been ready to pay a price to keep the quiet.

Therefore, the Palestinians play a game of chicken, disturbing the quiet in return for an Israeli payoff.

The PA says, give us the money you’re holding back that we use to fund attacks on Israelis, or our whole structure will come crashing down and you’ll have a much bigger mess on your hands.

Hamas says, give us access to the money Qatar is sending us, or we will make life miserable for you, with rockets raining down during your Remembrance Day, Independence Day and the semifinals of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Palestinian logic boils down to blackmail: You Israelis are rich, strong and happy, so we will make you miserable unless you give us, or give us access to, more money.

It’s weird, it’s sick, but it usually works, especially given an Israeli security establishment for which quiet is the first priority.

So, expect these tactics to succeed and be deployed time and again into the future.

The writer (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

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