Arab-Muslim culture tends to value honor and justice more than action and progress. Because the Arab world perceived the Zionist project as a colonial and criminal enterprise, Israel became an ongoing symbol of injustice and dishonor in Arab culture.
Palestinian leaders could have recognized a parallel Israeli narrative and adjusted to reality for the sake of building a better future. Tragically, they chose the quicksand of resentment and have been stuck in failure mode ever since.
Forget water irrigation and solar technology. Maybe what the Arab world needs to import from Israel is simply a workable attitude that says, “We’re going to argue like hell along the way, but let’s move forward and try to fix problems and make things better.” It is this attitude that has helped make Israel the biggest success story of the Middle East.
Had Palestinians taken an Israeli-style, problem-solving attitude into peace negotiations, they would have had their own state by now. Instead, what they brought to the table was bitterness and lingering resentment.
Any psychologist will tell you that an addiction to victimhood is a roadmap to failure. Palestinian leaders are the drug dealers of victimhood. By sending them billions over the years and treating their cause like the world’s most important, we in the West have reinforced this self-destructive mindset.
If there’s to be any hope for the future, the next leader of the Palestinians must be unafraid to introduce a new, more forward-looking mindset that will tap into the practical, rather than the cynical, Israeli attitude.
David Suissa, “Why I Love Lucy”, Jewish Journal (30 October – 5 November 2015), 8.