Almost Half of East Jerusalem’s Arabs Would Rather Be Citizens of Israel Than of Palestine

The 400,000 Arabs leaving in eastern Jerusalem have a unique status, which allows them to apply for—and usually obtain—Israeli citizenship if they so desire. According to a recent survey, 48 percent say they would rather be citizens of Israel than of a Palestinian state. Moreover, 63 percent agree at least “somewhat” with the assertion that they would be better off under Israel than under either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. David Pollock analyzes these and other data from the poll, which show surprisingly moderate attitudes toward the Jewish state and the Abraham Accords:

These striking findings represent a reversion to the pragmatic east Jerusalem attitudes last registered in 2014, before the “knife intifada,” rising tensions on the Temple Mount, and tough Israeli responses. The current more conciliatory mood probably reflects their recent experience of access to Israeli healthcare, social-welfare benefits, ability to travel both inside and outside Israel, and jobs during the past two years of coronavirus-related issues. By comparison, most Palestinians across the security barrier in the West Bank have none of those advantages.

Such comparatively moderate (or just apolitical) views emerge in response to many other questions in this new survey as well. For example, 62 percent agree with this statement: “Right now, the Palestinians should focus on practical matters like jobs, healthcare, education, and everyday stability, not on big political plans or resistance options.” The same proportion also agree that “right now, the Palestinians need to pay much more attention to countering extremist Islamic trends in our own society.” And a solid majority (65 percent) say that “the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is mostly just for politicians or old people, and I just don’t think about it very much.”

All these data points counter the impression of mass alienation and anger in east Jerusalem, especially since this survey was taken so soon after high Ramadan tensions there. In this context, it was likely helpful that this time, unlike in some earlier episodes, Israel allowed tens of thousands of mostly local Palestinian Muslims to pray peacefully at al-Aqsa and the surrounding plaza (al-Haram al-Sharif).

Still more surprising are the responses in east Jerusalem to other Arab governments, and to new moves toward broader Arab-Israeli rapprochement. Half (47 percent) of the city’s Palestinians express at least a “somewhat” favorable view of the Abraham Accords—compared with just one-fourth of West Bankers.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Abraham Accords, East Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood, Palestinians

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus