Who Are the 'Innocent' Palestinians?

A recent poll by the Arab World for Research and Development painted a vivid picture of the innocent Palestinian Arabs whose treatment the world is decrying in Israel's war with Hamas, the same world that's been impotent, deaf and silent, overlooking decades of abuse and war crimes against the Palestinian Arabs under Hamas, the PLO and Islamic Jihad. The current situation begs the question for another conversation as to whether anyone in the world actually cares about the well-being of the Palestinian Arabs or if this is just a cover for antisemites to find an excuse to blame Israel again and again and again.

The wartime poll was conducted between Oct. 31 and Nov. 7 among 668 people in the Palestinian Authority including Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

So who are the innocent Palestinian Arabs?

Spoiler alert in case you don't care or have time for the details: The poll shows that Palestinian Arabs roundly support terror against Israel, reject peace with Israel and deny Israel's very right to exist.

To its credit, ARWAD actually published these results. The organization did so with no shame. But it should be ashamed, for its society and everything it says about the century-long dehumanization of Jews and delegitimization of Israel. Maybe it depicts ARWAD's desire to portray this reality in the hope that there will be change. However, as deep as the hostility to Israel is, it's hard to imagine even a handful of righteous people looking to change their society rather than celebrate its deeply rooted evil.

The AWRAD poll depicts widespread hostility, hatred and legitimization of terror. It did not start just because of the war, and certainly not as a response to the horrific Oct. 7 massacre against Israel. In fact, it shows that innocent Palestinian Arabs celebrate it. These results are the product of hateful incitement against Israel from long before the advent of the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s, and since: celebrating terror, honoring the terrorists and providing generous pensions to the perpetrators and their families.

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The results must be a wake-up call for Israel, the broader world (even the antisemites for whom these facts are an inconvenient truth) and anyone in the international community who truly seeks peace in the Middle East. It underscores that the worn-out paradigms of the past are invalid, and the world needs to look through the prism of helping to resolve a problem based on reality, not how people want to think the world ought to be.

The poll's overall results indicate that an overwhelming percentage of innocent Palestinian Arabs:

— Overwhelmingly support the Oct. 7 massacre against Israel (75%).

— Support the genocidal creation of a Palestinian state "from the river to the sea" in place of Israel (74.7%).

— Seek the restoration of "historical Palestine" as a final resolution (71.1%), albeit that there was never an independent entity under Arab authority known as Palestine to restore.

— And obviously, they reject coexistence with Israel (85.9%).

As if in a high school popularity contest for homecoming king and queen among competing terrorist organizations, innocent Palestinian Arabs:

— Believe that Hamas plays a somewhat to very positive role (76%).

— Believe that Palestinian Islamic Jihad plays a somewhat to very positive role (84%).

— Believe that Fatah's (the PLO) terror wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, plays a somewhat to very positive role (79.8%).

— Believe that Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Kassam Brigades, plays a somewhat to very positive function (88.6%).

Innocent Palestinian Arabs also harbor unsurprisingly antisemitic and anti-Western views, believing that they are victims and not the perpetrators:

— Think that support for Israel is the result of the "influence of the Israeli lobby (91.5 %).

— Think that support for Israel is the result of "hatred of Arabs" (85.5%).

— Agreed with the belief that this support is the result of "hatred of Muslims and Islam" (79.5%).

Biting the hands that feeds them, which have provided untold millions to fund their society, innocent Palestinian Arabs:

— See the U.S. role as unfavorable (98.2%).

— See the U.K. role as unfavorable (96.7%).

— See the EU role as unfavorable (92.6%).

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But innocent Palestinian Arabs disdain is not just for the Western hands that feed them. Within the Arab world, innocent Palestinian Arabs:

— See the United Arab Emirates playing the most negative role (96%).

—See Saudi Arabia playing the second most negative role (95.5%).

— See Egypt playing the third most negative role (84.6%).

— See Jordan playing the fourth negative role (75.6%).

It's noteworthy that these countries have either made peace with Israel or were close to that before Oct. 7. No doubt, innocent Palestinian Arabs must hold in high esteem countries that are rocks of stability and democracy in advocating for their well-being, such as Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Looking locally at their own society, innocent Palestinian Arabs seek greater control by the most hardline terrorists in a population where all their leaders come from terrorist organizations. Innocent Palestinian Arabs believe:

— The Palestinian Authority plays a negative role (87.3%).

— Fatah (the PLO) plays a positive role (23.2%).

— Hamas should continue to play a role in the Palestinian government (85.8%).

— They should support a "national unity" government of Fatah (the PLO) and Hamas (72.2%).

— The war will end with a Palestinian victory that "achieves the liberation of Gaza from the Israeli invasion" (74.3%).

Innocent Palestinian Arabs' positive perception of the terror organizations that control their society remains high, despite those organizations' role in the Oct. 7 massacre and being used as human shields by the same terrorist leaders they hold in high esteem.

To be clear, I don't want to see the death or suffering of any actual innocent Palestinian Arabs, nor do the vast majority of Israelis. The truism before Oct. 7 remains: If they were to lay down their weapons today, they could have peace tomorrow. If we were to lay down our weapons (or be unprepared or live in a naive false reality) they would slaughter us. On Oct. 7, we saw that.

Israelis desperately want peace. But when we look at statistics like these among "innocent Palestinian Arabs," it make us question whether there are in fact any actual peace partners on the other side. It's not only impossible under Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. In the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank, the percentage of people who hold negative and genocidal views of Israel is greater. According to the AWRAD poll, innocent Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) support the massacre against Israel at a far greater rate (83.1%) than those in Gaza (63.6%).

The AWRAD poll shows that innocent Palestinian are delusional and hold views that are self-defeating. It raises the legitimate question as to whether Israel has had—or ever will have—peace partners. It raises the question, as Israel continues its combat to eradicate Hamas, of whether all the innocent Palestinian Arabs are really so innocent after all.

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Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the United States and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has become a respected bridge between Jews and Christians and serves as president of the Genesis 123 Foundation. He writes regularly on major Christian websites about Israel, shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel and hosts the popular "Inspiration from Zion" podcast. On behalf of the Genesis 123 Foundation, the Israel Emergency Campaign gives a vehicle for millions of Christians around the world the opportunity to do so virtually as well.

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