Arab Pride in Being Israeli

The 2014 Democracy Index revealed a substantial increase in the pride that Israeli Arabs feel in being Israeli. In 2013, only 40 percent of Israeli Arabs were proud to be citizens, whereas in 2014 some 65 percent of Israeli Arabs described themselves as either very or quite proud to be Israeli. 
In addition, more East Jerusalem Palestinians, who enjoy permanent resident status because of the city’s annexation by Israel, have been choosing to become Israeli citizens. Around 10 percent of Palestinians in East Jerusalem have become Israeli citizens by choice. Of course, children subsequently born to Palestinians who apply and are approved for Israeli citizenship are also Israeli citizens.
Applicants recognize that Israeli citizenship makes it easier to get jobs, buy homes, and travel abroad. There has been a real jump in Palestinian applications for Israeli citizenship over the past decade to between 800 and 1,000 applications per year. The oath that they are swearing includes the following words: “I declare I will be a loyal citizen of the state of Israel.” 
These forward looking individuals just want to lay aside the irrational hatred of Jews and get on with living happy lives as Israeli citizens. Trends like these are always a cause for panic by the Palestinian Authority. Abbas and his PLO cronies have everything to lose from the successful integration of Arabs into Israel’s democracy.
Palestinians who want to live in peace with Israel are intelligent enough to see that the latest wave of terror is a sign of desperation by an aging Palestinian leadership who was elected in 2005 to serve only until 2009. He is no longer the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The European Union, United Nations, and United States are supporting a dictator and a terrorist leader.
Two Palestinian girls attacked an elderly Palestinian man with scissors on Monday, mistaking him for a Jew. Hawala Jaber, a Palestinian woman in her fifties and resident of Um al-Fahm, stood nearby and told a Channel 2 reporter that terrorist handlers are giving Palestinian teenagers pills to make their heads “turn.” She called them crazies, with no brains.

Hawala, who has worked in Jewish homes for years, said that what terrorists are doing to Jews is “bullshit.” Two female Israeli soldiers standing by listening to Hawala’s comments started singing, “The eternal nation is not afraid, not afraid of the long road ahead.” Hawala rushed over, hugged, and kissed one of the soldiers and started dancing with them.
Palestinians really don’t have to put up with Hamas or Fatah anymore. The United Nations, working with the Arab League, started calling the PLO the “sole representative” of the Palestinian people in the 1970s even though it had not been democratically elected by a popular vote. The long dark chapter of Palestinian dictatorship and terror can be over when Palestinians decide it is over.
The terror of the last two months is taking its toll on Israelis, for sure, but also on Palestinians. According to the Israel Security Agency, Palestinian terrorists launched 602 attacks in just a 30-day period. Since October 1, almost a hundred Palestinians have been killed while trying to commit acts of terror.
The terror attacks of the last two months are not the result of so-called lone wolves living in a vacuum. Terrorists are elevated to role models and have long received recognition and honor from the Palestinian Authority leadership. Official PA media serve up to Palestinian cities and villages a continuous diet of hate, racism, and incitement toward the Jews.
A 2014 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research indicated that 80 percent of Palestinians backed the wave of terrorism against Israelis at the end of last year. Furthermore, the research indicated that Hamas would have won presidential elections if they had been held at that time. We certainly don't want Hamas in the West Bank, but Fatah, Hamas, and other terror groups are not the only choices.
A Palestinian Center for Public Opinion poll conducted November 12-18 of this year found that 60 percent oppose the way Abbas has handled his job. Also, 48 percent believe that Abbas should resign. Only 42 percent of Palestinians are now in favor of carrying out a violent uprising. Things are looking up.
The statement on Palestinian television by Mahmoud Abbas on September 16 that he welcomed every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem was the official beginning of this latest intensification of terror. Any Israelis claiming that so-called lone wolves did not take his statement as official approval and encouragement of further terror attacks are deceiving themselves.
Hints and suggestions by the Palestinian president are understood as directions. If they don't do as they are expected, then they or their family members may not live to see the morning. A Palestinian in a Ramallah café voicing support for peace with Jews would bite the dust before he could finish his coffee if any of Abbas’s thugs were sitting nearby.
PA Government Resolution of 2010, numbers 21 and 23, formalized what the PA had been doing for a long time. The Palestinian Authority has thousands of Palestinians on payroll who are serving time in Israeli prisons for terror-related offenses. Terrorists also can choose to have their paychecks sent to their families. For people living in poverty, this is a powerful incentive for them to commit acts of terror.
A Palestinian father whose teenager hasn't pelted IDF soldiers with rocks, broken an Israeli windshield, or tried to stab a Jew is often accused of being an Israeli collaborator. Palestinians who already owe their livelihoods to the PLO dictatorship can be counted on to spring into action when the leadership feels the need to punish the Jews. Those who aren’t already on payroll know they will be soon if they survive an attack on Jews and end up in an Israeli prison.
Not all Palestinians depend on Hamas or the PLO for their income and livelihoods. Besides the many Palestinians working in Israel proper, many from the West Bank see greener pastures working in Israeli settlements. Over 20,000 Palestinians routinely work in the settlements, and there are thousands more who work without permits.
Although Palestinian employment in Israeli settlements has been criminalized by the Palestinian Authority, so far there have been few prosecutions because of devastating unemployment and poverty in the West Bank. Thus, money from Israeli settlements finds its way into Ramallah despite the PA's opposition to them.
The Palestinian Authority has so far presided over the ruin of the Palestinian people. Fatah squandered and stole billions in foreign aid instead of spending it on Palestinians for whom it was intended. Hamas and Fatah exist for the benefit of the organizations' leaders, not for the Palestinian people.
The majority of Palestinians perhaps will eventually get enough and see that it is much better to live in peace with Israelis than take orders from the Arab League. Eventually, there will be terror fatigue, and when Palestinians have had enough with the murdering of Jews and the resulting crackdowns by Israeli security forces, the Palestinians will see the PLO and the PA for what they really are – just a bunch of criminal thugs.
A few Israelis might support Abbas's continued dictatorship, but peace-loving Palestinians will only be able to come forward when Israel disbands terrorist organizations like Hamas and the PLO. Palestinians deserve a leader who wants to build a prosperous future for Palestinians instead of diverting their money to his own bank account. They deserve a leader who wants to build a shared and prosperous future with Israel.
When Palestinians finally realize that we will not abandon the land that we have called our homeland for 4,000 years, perhaps more of them will resign themselves to become Israeli. This is the greatest nightmare for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. When enough Palestinians take pride in being Israelis, Hamas and the PLO will no longer be able to force their agenda on them.
A Palestinian economy built on terrorism and extortion cannot forever survive. After all, as Hawala Jaber pointed out, in Jerusalem Arabs and Jews live right across the road from each other. They are neighbors. Eventually, swords will be beat into plowshares. May it come speedily and in our time!
Yoeli’s Mandate: Leave your mark, make a difference for the good, and do your part to make sure that they never again devour Jacob or make his habitation waste.
You may write to Eli Kaufman at [email protected]