Palestinians Care More about Higher Living Standards Than about Ending the Occupation

According to the self-styled advocates for their rights in the West, Palestinians’ greatest concerns are preventing the construction of housing for Jews in the West Bank, an end to the Israeli presence in territory acquired during the Six-Day War, and obtaining national independence—an impression confirmed implicitly by most reporting on the region. But a recent survey by a highly regarded Ramallah-based polling center suggests different priorities altogether. Hussain Abdul-Hussain writes:

Better living standards top the priorities of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, whose majority cares little about democracy or human rights and supports conflict with Israel. . . . Twenty-nine percent of Palestinians said that their top priority was “the unification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” Second came “the improvement of economic conditions” at 25 percent. Combating corruption [among Hamas and Fatah authorities] was third, with 15 percent, while 14 percent answered that their priority was the “lifting of the siege and blockade over the Gaza Strip.”

Only nine percent said that “strengthening the resistance to occupation” was their priority, showing that anything connected to “occupation,” the obsession of Palestinian-Americans and their progressive American sympathizers, does not even get 10 percent of Palestinian interest.

[T]the majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip do not think it is Israel that is violating their human rights. According to the . . . survey, 71 percent of West Bankers said that people in their area cannot criticize the Palestinian Authority (PA) without fear. In the Gaza Strip, inaccessible to Israel, 62 percent of Palestinians said that people in the strip “cannot criticize Hamas’s authority without fear.”

Read more at House of Wisdom

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian public opinion

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy