The Palestinians have been suffering defeats for over 60 years. But now they appear to have a real victory on their hands. Taking some key advice from their former Soviet patrons, the PLO reformed their educational system over the last few decades to create an alternate reality for all the children going through it. In this fantasy world, Israel does not exist. Oh, Israel is there for all to see but in Palestinian schools the maps of the area do not show Israel. The Israelis are depicted as bad people, who steal from the virtuous Palestinians and are assisted by other evil people, like the United States. Everything bad that happens, including the rampant corruption of Palestinian politicians, is blamed on Israel. At the same time, Palestinian terrorists who have killed Israeli women and children are hailed as heroes and children are encouraged to be terrorists, especially suicidal ones. It’s not just the terrorists who get this treatment. Yasser Arafat, who led the effort to create the Palestine people and the fantasy Palestine taught in schools, died of apparent natural causes three years ago. But now Palestinian children are being taught that Arafat was poisoned by Israelis.
Palestinian media, both Fatah and Hamas controlled, occasionally undertake similar media campaigns to arouse popular anger against Israel. One that gets used periodically is the charge that Israeli plans to destroy the al Aqsa mosque. The problem here is that there have never been any Israeli plans to destroy al Aqsa. But Palestinian media managers know that the public has a poor memory and can be fed the same lie periodically and convincingly.
The al Aqsa complex is built on the site of two Jewish temples. The last one was destroyed by the Romans nearly two thousand years ago. Israel has always provided security for al Aqsa, but the Palestinians find it convenient to keep alive unfounded fears that Israel will, at any moment, destroy al Aqsa and rebuild their temple. This is what some religious extremists (Jewish and Christian) want and one reason for the tight Israeli security around al Aqsa (which is otherwise controlled by Moslem religious authorities). This fear mongering is a big deal among the Palestinians but generally ignored, or simply unknown, outside Israel.
The numerous al Aqsa scare stories in the Palestinian media (replete with cartoons straight out of similar 1930s Nazi propaganda) are rarely recognized as a reason why Israel and the Palestinians cannot negotiate a peace deal. The basic problem is that, for the last two generations, it has been Palestinian policy to teach their children, and anyone that will listen to these Arab language screeds, that Israel has no right to exist. The kids get indoctrinated with anti-Semitic propaganda at a young age and as adults they continue to be bombarded by anti-Semitic propaganda.
Thus most Palestinians (unless they were educated outside of the Middle East) take it for granted that any peace deal with Israel is just a tactical move in the effort to eventually destroy Israel and drive all Jews from the Middle East. People outside the Middle East have a hard time comprehending this attitude. But it is very real and can be seen on Palestinian web sites (not so much on the non-Arabic language ones, although even there the anti-Semitic line is leaking through more and more). Israel goes through the motions of negotiating, to keep its Western allies and trading partners happy, but few Jews in Israel see any chance of real peace with the Palestinians, given the current attitudes within the Palestinian community.
That’s because Palestinian attitudes towards the non-existence of Israel goes beyond teaching their kids that Israel doesn’t even exist. The children are taught that what the rest of the world calls Israel is really just a bunch of Zionists illegally occupying Arab land. While Arabs love to call Israelis "Nazis", it is the Arab world that is the true heir to the Adolph Hitler's vision of how the world should be. A major weapon in the Palestinian arsenal is anti-Semitism. For a long time, even before World War II, the racial hatred tactic was particularly popular in the Arab world. This was partly the result of Islamic radicalism, which pushed hatred of all non-Moslems, not just Jews. But as more Jews began moving into Jerusalem and surrounding areas in the late 19th century, more of the Moslem racial animosity was directed at Jews.
This was not the usual ethnic animosity found in Europe but something more in line with the extreme violence of the Nazis. In fact, during World War II, the Nazis were very popular in the Arab world (and still are). The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (the highest Islamic official in the area) spent the war in Berlin (to avoid arrest by the British). Iraq, which had become independent during the 1930s, declared itself a German ally in 1941 (and was promptly invaded and re-conquered by three British divisions, before the Germans could get many troops into the territory of their new ally). After World War II the Arab language media continued Nazi-grade anti-Semitism. The Arabs had enough sense to tone down this race hatred, and pro-Nazi, line in their non-Arab language media.
Over the last few decades, and especially since the end of the Cold War, many Westerners have adopted the anti-Semitic angle in denouncing Israeli attempts to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism. Such self-defense measures are now seriously discussed as "war crimes" in the West. To the Arabs the very existence of Israel is a "war crime," but the Arabs have been unable to do much beyond fanaticizing about destroying Israel and teaching a new generation that even the historical facts of Jews in the Middle East are lies. Now they have many political activists and progressive thinkers in the West fanaticizing along with them. Tangible gains from this ethnic hatred strategy have been scant so far. Many in the West are appalled by it, and the leadership in most Western nations does not buy into it. But much of the popular media does and incidents of anti-Semitism, including assault and murder, are on the increase in Europe. Arabs see their anti-Semitism strategy as a success, as Arabs tend to take solace in symbolism, given their lack of substantial progress in destroying Israel. So every anti-Semitic attack in Europe is a victory, as is every European politician who denounces Israel for non-existent war crimes, or ignores the very real atrocities that the Arabs commit against each other. To many Arabs, living the fantasy is easier than dealing with reality.
The Palestinians believe that time, and God, are on their side. Meanwhile, they use negotiations to gain whatever small advantages they can. The ultimate goal, as is plainly displayed on official Palestinian web sites and official documents, is the expulsion of all Jews from what the United Nations erroneously calls “Israel.” While not all Palestinian students believe the lies, enough do to keep the others quiet or succeeding in fleeing to the West.