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Watching the news these days it has become commonplace to portray Palestinians as double victims — of both Hamas and Israel. Everyone from President Biden to even Bibi Netanyahu has emphasized the distinction between Hamas on the one hand and the innocent Palestinians on the other. They are presented as hostages of Hamas, just as much as the Israelis being held at gunpoint in their tunnels.

While it is true that 16 years have passed since Gazans elected Hamas, much of the Palestinian population there is radicalized. They support Hamas, and — what’s most disturbing — they endorse the October 7 massacre.

New polling conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development proves that Palestinians overwhelmingly prefer Hamas and that they approve the massacre. Only 13% of Palestinians oppose the 10/7 attacks, whereas 75% support the slaughter, with 59% strongly supporting it.

Regular Palestinians cheered and spit on the mangled corpse of Shani Louk, and assaulted and harassed other victims and hostages.

This sad reality raises the question: if Israel achieves its goal of demilitarizing Gaza and destroying Hamas, what will replace it?

President Biden has made clear that there needs to be a two-state solution. But who will govern the Palestinian state? Biden recently proposed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) take the reins of government in Gaza. However, support for the Palestinian Authority is a dismal 10%. The PA will be received as a corrupt puppet of the west in Gaza.

If Palestinians are given the opportunity to elect new leadership , they will choose Hamas. Support for the Al-Qassam Brigades (89%), which is the military wing of Hamas, is even higher than support for Hamas in general (75%). This seems to suggest that what many Palestinians like most about Hamas is terrorism and violence.

Israel is faced with the same conundrum the US encountered in Afghanistan: the militant Islamist party is favored over any moderate alternative. Optimistic onlookers might think that, when given the opportunity for democratic governance, people will seize it. But if history is any guide, that is only true if the people in question are not radicalized. Israel cannot afford to make the same mistakes the US made in Afghanistan.

The US lost 2,402 service members in the 20-year war in Afghanistan, and squandered a staggering $2.3 trillion. What will it cost Israel in lives and treasure to keep Hamas from seizing power once again? The lesson Israel should learn from the United States’ misadventures in Afghanistan is that you cannot impose democracy and peace upon a population. A peaceful population doesn’t become a death cult overnight, and vice versa. This situation didn’t emerge suddenly, and the solution will have to be gradual as well.

Israel must not, as Bibi Netanyahu foolishly said, retain “security control of Gaza indefinitely.” Instead, Israel should learn from the US’s mistakes and outsource that role to an international peacekeeping force. After all, the UN is complicit in the radicalization of the Palestinians. Problems cannot be solved if they are not acknowledged, and the UN has to contend with the fact that they have facilitated the perpetuation of this conflict by inculcating hatred in their schools.

The US contributes about 20% of the UN’s overall budget, more than any other single country, and about 25% of UNWRA’s budget, which is responsible for educating Palestinian children.

The UN-run school system in the Palestinian territories have become indoctrination camps for terrorists. Their textbooks are full of such vile genocidal brainwashing that you would think they were Arabic translations of Mein Kampf. These textbooks poison the minds of Palestinian children and ensure that peace remains unattainable. Shockingly, one of the released hostages was held by an UNWRA teacher in Gaza. The UN cannot be trusted to administer services for the Palestinians when they aid, abet, and incite terrorism.

We should not continue subsidizing the radicalization of Palestinian youth by funding UNWRA. Once the dust of combat settles, and an international peacekeeping force is in place, reforming the Palestinian education system should be a priority. The deprogramming of the Palestinian population may take a generation, and the world needs to prepare for that.

Kenneth Blake teaches Critical Thinking and Government at St. Vincent de Paul College Prep in Petaluma, CA. 

Source of original article: Kenneth Blake / Opinion – (
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