Analysis: Expect More Palestinian Indifference to Peace

More of the same for the Palestinians. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

More of the same for the Palestinians. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The nomination of a new Palestinian Prime Minister brings on hopes for new possibilities. Could the new leadership mean new prospects for peace with Israel? Could it bring new political reforms and freedom? Might hate and violence truly be on the retreat? After taking a closer look, however, it does not appear Dr. Rami Hamdallah will mean anything new for the Palestinians, or for Middle East peace.

Hamdallah is lukewarm and caution at its finest. An initial Internet search shows Hamdallah is not an outspoken radical or a peaceful visionary. Ma’an News Agency reported he’s a “political independent,” and has been president of An-Najah University in the West Bank for roughly 15 years.

In fact, there’s not a whole lot else to say about him beyond that. An-Najah did get a bad reputation for its students becoming terrorists in the Second Intifada terror war, and the Anti-Defamation League even listed the “An-Najah Students Cell” group as a terrorist recruiter.

Did Hamdallah openly challenge the hate and violence in his own school? Apparently not. Did he openly promote it in a noteworthy way? Well, no. So he headed a school known for terrorism and managed to somehow not get his name in the papers. If anonymity is what you want, he’s the guy.

But that’s not really what you should want for the Palestinians. Staying steady in a society built on bitterness and hate towards Israel, even if that animosity is not endorsed, is really flirting with conflict. And conflict with Israel is not good for America’s top ally in the region, nor is it good for oil prices.

The current leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas, who appointed Hamdallah, has managed to somehow go nowhere in the peace process with Israel. He’s not extreme, but he’s not really helping things either. And Hamdallah is more of the same.

His name shows up twice in reports from the Palestinian Media Watch group, which reports on anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian media. Hamdallah hosted a karate championship for kids that was named for a dead terrorist, a common practice among Palestinians to turn murderers into “martyrs.” It also appears that he believes that all of Israel is really “occupied Palestine,” which doesn’t bode so well for peace either. But he’s not very outspoken at all, that’s for sure.

So expect no inspiring words for peace and no fiery speeches for hate. Expect no progress and no regress. Really, the only thing to expect is that the ongoing stalemate with Israel should continue. The new Palestinian Prime Minister really isn’t so new, after all.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 2, 2013)



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