Bribing the Palestinians won't work
The Trump administration thinks appealing to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un by dangling promises of prosperity in front of him if he agrees to change his ways is the path to peace on the Korean Peninsula. So far there have been no agreements to build a Trump resort and Kim has made no effort to adopt any other form of capitalistic behavior.
Undeterred, the administration's front man for Middle East peace, the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has revealed part of his plan (the rest he says will come after Israeli elections this fall) to settle the multi-decade conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Kushner told Reuters the plan includes $50 billion in economic incentives, if the Palestinian leadership will simply recognize Israel's right to exist, promise not to engage in terrorist actions and seek a peace agreement with the Jewish State.
One critical element is being left out of what we know so far about the proposal and that is religion. Kushner, who is Jewish, should have some particular insight into the conflict that eludes secularists. The Palestinians and Muslims in some neighboring countries believe they have a religious mandate to wipe out Israel, killing as many Jews as possible, because Israel is an illegal occupier of "their" land and Allah has ordered it.
Evidence that Kushner's plan is likely to experience the same fate as those that have gone before is contained in a study of textbooks used by Palestinian schoolchildren.
The study, conducted by Eldad J. Pardo of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and published in April 2017, found the latest textbooks and curricula for grades one through four are "significantly more radical than previous (publications)." Pardo says the latest texts "(teach) students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel and focuses on a 'return' to an exclusively Palestinian homeland."
Even math books use martyrs to teach arithmetic.
In upper grades, writes Pardo, "The strategy of violence and pressure (in place of negotiations) is advocated as the most effective action to achieve Palestinian goals. ... And in these upper-grade textbooks, the concept of 'eternal war' is instigated through the abuse of Islamic terminology."
Real history is replaced with Palestinian and Islamic reinterpretations and even reinventions of history. One example: Pardo says Palestinians are being taught that they have always occupied the land. In fact, even their name -- Palestinians -- is a modern invention. As noted on the Jewish Virtual Library website, "Leading up to Israel's independence in 1948, it was common for the international press to label Jews, not Arabs, living in the mandate as Palestinians. It was not until years after Israeli independence that the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were called Palestinians."
There is much more from the study. "The Palestinian national anthem is taught in third-grade," writes Pardo, and "instills the spirit of fighting, revenge and sacrifice." And then there's this from the same third-grade text: "Jerusalem is a Palestinian city and capital of the State of Palestine. The Palestinian flag will be hoisted on the city's walls after the liberation from Israeli occupation, God willing."
Add these incitements to the sermons from Palestinian mosques and media in which Israel and the Jewish people are degraded and their enemies are encouraged to destroy their state and evict or murder their people.
How does a Jewish-American who will be doubly hated for his citizenship and his religion bribe Palestinian leaders into reversing their religious mandate and political goals? If that strategy is not revealed in the rest of Kushner's peace plan, and if the Palestinians refuse to take the bribe, the plan will fail.
In the mind of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas it already has. At a news conference last Sunday, Abbas appeared to reject Kushner's plan, saying, "We will not be slaves or servants."
The Kushner plan is a miscalculation similar to those made by previous administrations. Aside from abandoning the land-for-peace formula, which never worked, this plan appears to differ only in the amount of money being offered.
(This year marks Cal Thomas' 35th year as a syndicated columnist. Readers may email Cal Thomas at email@example.com.