The Corner

World

Making Sense of Palestinian Logic

Palestinians do weird things. A few days ago, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules most of the West Bank, refused to accept the tax revenues it is owed by the Israeli government. Today, Hamas, which rules all of Gaza, launched more than 200 rockets into 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:

  • Israelis 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 Israel’s existence, leaving the struggle to secondary players such as Iran, Turkey, and the global Left.
  • No matter their weakness, the 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 accords, has been ready to pay a price for it.

Therefore, the Palestinians play a game of chicken, disturbing the quiet in return for an Israeli pay-off. The Palestinian Authority 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 Memorial Day, your Independence Day, and the semi-finals 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 access to more money. It’s weird, it’s sick, but it usually works, especially given an Israeli security establishment for whom quiet is the first priority.

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

Most Popular

U.S.

The Age of Miscalculation

On August 7, 1998, more than 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Americans learned three names most of them never had heard before: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda. On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered a ... Read More
Sports

Jay-Z Joins the Ranks of the Insufficiently Woke

Rapper and mogul Jay-Z announced his company’s new partnership with the National Football League and has made much of the social-justice Left furious: I think that we forget that Colin [Kaepernick]’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct? So, in that case, this is a success; this is ... Read More
Culture

‘Good Verse, Bad Verse, and Chaos’

I love reading Sarah Ruden, and I’ve enjoyed the attention given to Walt Whitman in these pages over the last few days. Ruden gives the poet the back of her hand for being championed by — angels and ministers of grace, defend us! — intellectuals and professors, a poet “whom ordinary Americans most ... Read More