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Do Palestinians know what happened on Oct. 7?

Palestinians take control of an Israeli tank after crossing the border fence with Israel from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, Oct. 7, 2023. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Is it possible that Palestinians who say they didn’t know atrocities were committed in Israel on Oct. 7 are telling the truth?

According to a recent survey of Palestinians, they claim they are unaware of mass atrocities due to not having viewed any footage. But it’s hard to believe such an assertion, given that supposedly 87% of all Palestinians watch television daily and 27% listen to the radio on a daily basis. In addition, there are more than a million Facebook users in Palestinian areas, and while they might not feel the freedom to express exactly what they think or feel, they have access to see what others have posted.

But how does one react to the shocking news that only 10% of Palestinians who, after being told of the horrible atrocities which were committed on that fateful day, believe that they really happened? Something is completely wrong. Either Palestinians are lying and just unwilling to say they are aware of the events that took place or they don’t want to know, so they feign ignorance. But one thing is clear: They are receiving the same news which the rest of us hear and see., an online political and news magazine reports that “Palestinians get most of their news, sports and entertainment from places like Dubai, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.” In fact, it cites that many Palestinians are hooked on well-known American shows such as Lost and American Idol. 

Nonetheless, it’s true that the preferred and most-trusted news channel of Palestinians, Al Jazeera, is wholly owned by Qatar and “used as an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood,” meaning that a fair assessment of the war will not be broadcast from that site. Other stations viewed by Palestinians include Al-Aqsa, TV, the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, Palestinian Satellite Channel and Al-Quds TV, all of which are equally skewed in terms of what facts are presented. 

Having said all of this, both Gaza and the West Bank have full access to the internet, and this means that all Israeli TV channels can be viewed by those who understand Hebrew, ad for those who don’t, they can read every true account of what is massively being reported using a simple cut-and paste-method via Google Translate. In short, there is no excuse for either remaining unaware of what took place on Oct. 7 or denying the events after having heard of them.

So why are the majority of Palestinians supportive of all that was done on Oct. 7, knowing full well what took place? For one thing, if there is a common belief that Israelis are occupying their land, then it stands to reason that they would support whatever means used by their terrorist government to oust all Jews – from the river to the sea. It is this kind of massive support, as cited by 72% of those asked in the survey, that encourages Hamas to believe that their 2-year long plan had the full support of their people, despite the despicable atrocities, cold-blooded murders and taking of hostages, many of whom have already died or been brutally tortured.

It is this kind of violence, which is applauded by West Bank Palestinians, who believe that it is “the best means of ending the Israeli occupation” (a term which refers to all of Israel and not just the territories).

So, for anyone who may believe that negotiations are still a viable option which can be utilized to bring about peace and coexistence, through a two-state solution, the prevailing opinion amongst the people, themselves would prove otherwise if they believe that violence is a more effective tool in obtaining their preferred results – a Jew free Middle East. 

This position is supported by the pollster, Khalil Shikaki who stated: “The prevailing perception is that Palestinians do not have the option of resorting to diplomacy and negotiations to end the Israeli occupation. This is not a viable means of ending the Israeli occupation, so they’re left with nothing but violence.”

It's so important for people on the outside, who don’t live here, to understand the mindset of Palestinians when suggesting a ceasefire as a solution to the present Hamas/Israel conflict, because our enemy is not thinking in that way. Despite the IDF’s entrance into Gaza on Oct. 27, some two months ago, along with their great strides – which include having taken over northern Gaza all the way to southern Gaza City – rockets still continue to be launched on a daily basis into Israel. Just yesterday, the largest barrage ever was launched with 35 rockets hitting the center of the country, as far north as Herzliya and other surrounding communities. That massive attack lasted for nearly 10 minutes.

Hostage negotiations have also stalled as reports swirl around the belief that Hamas does not want the accounts and personal testimonies of what has been perpetrated upon those held against their will, to be revealed. But if Palestinians justify all manner of violence, in their quest to annihilate the Jewish homeland, then what difference would it make to them if stories of torture and sadistic treatment were disclosed?

No one would be surprised or shocked to learn what hostages have endured over the last 76 agonizing days in the depths of hell. Because we all know of what these monsters are capable, and if we know, it stands to reason that Palestinians also know. The fact that they are unwilling to admit it or condemn it, is another story.

The importance and significance of understanding what Palestinians know and don’t know is not whether they’ve heard or been exposed to the same facts we all have. It’s whether they are willing to search out the truth, which is available upon demand, how they process what they read and see, whether they are willing to reject the barbarism, savagery and inhumane atrocities or brush them off as “being part of a day’s work” in their goal to end the State of Israel. 

Either way, the notion that Palestinians don’t know or don’t believe what occurred on Oct. 7 is neither feasible nor possible. They, too, must be held to account especially for cheering on the grotesque massacre, which was met by their approval and rewarded with sweets throughout their communities. Because those are not the responses of human beings with a heart, a conscience and a soul. 

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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