8 Facts to Remember About The Israeli-Palestinian Arab Crisis

Share this
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Perhaps one of the most intensely debated issues these days is the “Israeli-(Palestinian) Arab Conflict.”  Everyone has an opinion on which party is more at fault here, and how the crisis should be “solved” by the parties and the world community.  However, I often find that ordinary people – and even many partisans on both sides – are surprisingly misinformed about some of the facts of this conflict.  This misinformation is a barrier towards developing a true solution to the problem.  Here is my list of the top eight facts that need to be known about this “Conflict,” in no particular order:


  1.  Palestinian Leaders are Undemocratic Terrorists; the Israeli leaders are not:  There is a noted and obvious contrast in the quality of the two leaderships.   The Palestinian leadership – both the PLO controlled Palestinian Authority and Hamas – are 1) terrorists; 2) undemocratic; 3) tyrannical; and 4) anti-American.  The former “President” of the PA, Yasser Arafat was probably the most recognized terrorist in the world.  Mahmoud Abbas was his deputy at the PLO; hence, he too was a terrorist.  Abbas also helped fund and organize terror attacks, including the Munich Olympic massacre.  He has admitted to this very recently.  All members of Hamas, including its “elected leaders” are terrorists according to U.S. law.  Palestinian terrorists from both groups have plenty of American blood on their hands, and aspire to kill even more.  Neither the West Bank, nor the Gaza Strip, has had regular elections.  Abbas was supposed to leave office 3 years ago; Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was dismissed in 2007 by Abbas but continues to call himself Prime Minister.   Neither the PA nor Hamas respect religious freedomfreedom of speech, and/or human rights in general.  Abbas has shown his anti-American stripes time after time, including when he rejected both of President Obama’s recent requests — to avoid a United Nations bid for Palestinian Statehood and to return to the negotiating table.  This can’t be too surprising, since he must appeal to people who aresympathetic to al-Qaeda.  Certainly, his compatriot from Hamas is.  In the meantime, the Israeli leadership is none of these things.  Israeli leaders are elected in a democratic fashion by all Israeli citizens, are almost uniformly pro-America, and contrary to overheated claims by anti-Semites and anti-Zionists, are not terrorists.
  2. Israeli “Settlements” are not a major impediment to “peacemaking”.    In 1964, before the 1967 war, before there was any such thing as “The West Bank”, the Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded.  The settlements didn’t really exist until the late 70’s, yet Arab and Palestinian Arab leaders still refused to make peace during that era, andafter the70’s, the Arabs and Palestinian Arabs negotiated with Israel even while settlement expansion was occurring.  Further, in 2000, 2001, and 2008, Israeli Prime Ministers offered to dismantle the settlements for peace but were rejected wholesale by the Palestinian leadership. The Israelis have put their money where their mouth was – in 2005, they uprooted settlers in the Gaza Strip and abandoned it to the governance of the Palestinians.None of this has stopped the excessive Western focus on these settlements.  Also not often noted are the facts that theland in question represents only a miniscule 3% of the territory in the West Bank, and that some of the so-called “settlements” are actually within the city limits of Jerusalem, which both Israelis and the U.S. Congress acknowledge as Israel’s capital.
  3.  The supposed demographic Palestinian Arab time bomb is no longer in effect.   This has been well-documented by David Goldman, an expert demographer, whose book “How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying Too)” shows that the birthrate for most Arab/Muslim populations are heavily and steadily decreasing while the birthrate of Israeli Jews, including secular Jews, is consistently increasing.  The current Palestinian and Israeli birthrates are both hovering around 3.0 children per family.  These facts have also been confirmed by Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt,former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, and Apoorva Shah.  In addition, it is very probable that the current number of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank is inflated.   The CIA World Factbook claims that there are over 2.15 million Palestinian Arabs in the disputed territories of the West Bank.  The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics claims 2.5 million Arabs inhabit the West Bank.  However, these numbers are suspect, as in contrast with internationally accepted demographic standards, the PA counts some 400,000 overseas residents, and also double counts some 300,000 Israeli card-bearing Jerusalem Arabs as Palestinians.  The true number of Palestinian Arabs may be 1.65 million.   Coupled with the Israeli Arabs, the total Arab population is only around 3.2 million, versus 6.1 million Jews (and 320,000 Israelis who are not identified as Jewish but are mostly Russians with Jewish ancestry).
  4. The Palestinian leaders say DIFFERENT and CONTRADICTORY things about peace in English and Arabic.  From the mainstream media, viewers are often bombarded with articles and news reports where well-spoken Palestinian Arab leaders discuss how eager they are to talk to Israelis and implement a true and lasting peace.  However, that is not always what these leaders say to their own people, in Arabic, a language that most Westerners have little to no knowledge of.  In English, Mahmoud Abbas and his top officials have said that they are ready to make “sacrifices” for the sake of peace.  At the same time, in Arabic, they have been caught telling their people that they: would never make “even one concession” to Israel during the peace talks; will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state; will never relinquish the right of return of millions of refugees to Israel; and will never make any compromises on Jerusalem.  Luckily, there are two websites that a person with an interest in what happens in Israel can visit to find out what Palestinian leaders actually say to their own people – see https://www.palwatch.org/ andhttps://www.memri.org/ .   Note that this kind of peace talk hypocrisy does not occur in Israel.
  5. Palestinian media and society is chock full of expressions of hate towards Jews – and not just Israelis – made by both ordinary Palestinians and their leadership.   Here is the Palestinian Mufti, the top Muslim religious leader, calling for the killing of Jews.  Here is the official Palestinian Authority information website, which is directly affiliated with Abbas, publishing a copy of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a classic anti-Semitic Russian forgery.  Here is a man in a rabbit suit preaching hatred on Palestinian children’s television by telling young Muslims to “kill and eat Jews.”   Here is a report on the textbooks used to educate Palestinian children who live in refugee camps with lessons of intolerance and hatred toward Jews and Israel.  Andhere are videotaped diatribes by Palestinian children against Israel and Jews, showing the atrocious results of their miseducation.  BTW, Palestinians also hateChristians almost as much.  Meanwhile, the Israeli media shows a consistent effort to humanize Arab foes and a general desire for coexistence.
  6. The Palestinian leadership has never met a legitimate peace plan it ever liked.  The Palestinian leadership has turned down genuine peace offers at least five times, the last two (or three) times in 2000, 2001, and 2008, when Israeli governments offered them virtually all they claimed to want.  All three of those times, Israel was governed by left-wing alliances that were praised by the Western world for their supposed peace loving ways, and all three of them were opposed by the supposed anti-peace alliance led by Benjamin Netanyahu.  Even worse, the Palestinians never bothered to propose a counter offer to any of these plans.  Instead, they just walked away to incite violence.  Most recently, the Palestinians did it again, by initiating the UN move to change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip outside of the permanent status negotiations Oslo Accord, which means they violated the 1993 Oslo Accords.
  7. Gaza is no longer under any Israeli “occupation.” Israel completely and utterly gave up the Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005, in a good faith gesture, only to get absolutely no peace in return.  Instead, the territory was eventually grabbed by the bloody terrorists of Hamas, who regularly shell Israeli citizens from Gaza.  This shelling is a violation of international law.  For that matter, the supposed blockade of Gaza – caused by Hamas terrorism – is not a real blockade – it does not prevent food and necessary supplies from reaching Gazans.
  8. Israel is not an apartheid regime.  First of all, there is no “race” involved here.  The Jewish population includes a number of different ethnic communities, which include Jews of European Jews, Jews of Arab or Spanish descent, who are basically ethnically indistinguishable from Palestinian Arabs, and even black Jews (who may be a separate “race” but are not the population supposedly suffering under apartheid).  Thus, calling Israel an “apartheid nation” shows a dismal lack of basic understanding of the English language.  Second, even assuming that the Palestinians were a separate race – and isn’t that a racist concept, btw – Israel is not an apartheid state in the mold of South Africa.  That state was extraordinarily repressive, regulating every detail of the lives of its subjects – 90 percent of whom were non-white – on the basis of their skin color.  Israel is a democracy which encourages vibrant debate, which has a flourishing free press and which shares with other liberal democracies a core value: the equality of all its citizens before the law.  This includes the 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs who are Israeli citizens within Israel proper.  They are not barred from voting or serving in any office, including Prime Minister.  Now, there are distinctions made between Israeli citizens and the other 1.6 million Palestinian Arabs who are not citizens of Israel, but that does not create an apartheid state.  Especially since Israel has legitimate security needs, and many non-citizen Palestinians are strongly and violently opposed to Israel’s continued existence.


So before someone makes a grossly incorrect allegation about this conflict, I encourage you to check your facts first.  If you find that you are relying on one of the above untruths, may I humbly suggest that you rethink your entire argument.  If you don’t, you can expect to be called to account for your faulty contention.


Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the Endowment for Middle East Truth. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.

Share this

About the Author

The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a Washington, D.C. based think tank and policy center with an unabashedly pro-America and pro-Israel stance. EMET (which means truth in Hebrew) prides itself on challenging the falsehoods and misrepresentations that abound in U.S. Middle East policy.

Invest in the truth

Help us work to ensure that our policymakers and the public receive the EMET- the Truth.

Take Action

.single-author,.author-section, .related-topics,.next-previous { display:none; }