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This deep-seated hatred, justified by religion, is also manifested in Palestinian culture by the cult of martyrdom, murder, and death that has legitimized terrorist attacks on Israelis for decades. Rather than promoting secular education, the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills, and the creation of a legal system conducive to economic development, too many Palestinians have instead financed, idolized, and reinforced with public honors the “martyrs” who blow up themselves and innocent Israelis on the promise of paradise. A people who dress up preschoolers as suicide bombers and make heroes out of murderers have other priorities than increasing exports, growing new businesses, or increasing GDP. Nor is this sickening death-cult the preoccupation of a fringe. A few years ago, alleged “moderate” Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas named a public square in Ramallah after a terrorist who in 1978 killed 38 Israelis, including 13 children. Such hatred is a cultural dysfunction inimical to the cosmopolitan tolerance necessary in a globalized economy.
The decades of terrorist assaults on Israel bring us to the truth always ignored by those who explain Palestinian dysfunction by decrying “blockades” and “occupation.” All these defensive measures exist for one reason: the intransigence of Palestinians whose religiously inspired hatred of Israel and Jews is so great that they will not just send their children to murder Israelis, but do so knowing they will provoke the responses that contribute to their failure to develop their economy and society. Those who complain about the blockade of Gaza never confront the simple truth that if Hamas stopped raining rockets on Israel and attempting to export even more lethal weapons, this blockade wouldn’t be necessary. And if economic development had been a priority for the Gazans, they wouldn’t have destroyed and plundered the commercial greenhouses left behind when the Israelis were evacuated in 2005. Instead of taking over and exploiting this industry, the terrorist outfits put all their energy into manufacturing more rockets and smuggling in more weapons.
These are the facts about the condition of the Palestinians that are ignored by Arab propagandists and Western haters of Israel. Quite simply, if enough Palestinians had wanted to develop their society and economy, they would have long before now. Their opportunity came in 1993, when the Oslo accords transferred control over the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, which was and continues to be financed by billions of aid from the West. With control and money, Palestinian leaders eager for economic development would have stopped terrorist attacks on Israel, which over time would have lessened the need for defensive measures like checkpoints and army patrols. They would have eradicated the cult of martyrdom from popular culture and school curricula. They would have passed laws that favored businesses, invited foreign investment, and promoted entrepreneurs. They would have built universities and other infrastructure. They would have created genuine democratic governance that respected human rights. And they would have taken measures to root out the government corruption and cronyism that have made billionaires of a few Palestinian “leaders” while the mass of people are compensated with hatred of Israel, genocidal anti-Semitism, and celebrations of terrorist murderers. But rather than doing all these things, the Palestinian leadership continued to send terrorists to kill thousands of Israelis in order to achieve their long-term goal of destroying Israel.
The reasons for this destructive behavior are obvious. For cultural and religious reasons, the Palestinians who want to destroy Israel outnumber those who want to create a state, live in peace, and provide prosperity to their people. That’s the simple truth, one so toxic for the haters of Israel that any statement even indirectly alluding to it must be attacked, as Romney’s was.
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