What Do Palestinians Want?

It’s time to take a close look at an often ignored subject: what ordinary Palestinians think about Israel, Jews, and terrorist attacks on civilians.

Masked Palestinian youths use slingshots to hurl rocks and marbles at an Israeli military checkpoint in Bethlehem, West Bank on October 23, 2015. Anna Ferensowicz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Masked Palestinian youths use slingshots to hurl rocks and marbles at an Israeli military checkpoint in Bethlehem, West Bank on October 23, 2015. Anna Ferensowicz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Essay
Nov. 2 2015
About the author

Daniel Polisar is the executive vice-president and a member of the faculty at Shalem College in Jerusalem.


The most recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks, now entering its second month, has been mainly the work of “lone wolf” operators running over Israeli civilians, soldiers, and policemen with cars or stabbing them with knives. The perpetrators, many in or just beyond their teenage years, are not, for the most part, activists in the leading militant organizations. They have been setting forth to find targets with the expectation, generally fulfilled, that after scoring a casualty or two they will be killed or badly wounded. What drives these young Palestinians, experts say, is a viral social-media campaign centered on claims that the Jews are endangering the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and that Israel is executing Palestinian children.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinians