A poll conducted by the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency after this month’s string of terror attacks in Paris yielded a startling conclusion: the vast majority of respondents believe Israel may have played a role in the Paris attacks.
The survey, which was released last week by the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida, showed 84.4 percent of Palestinians, 5,142 of the 6,090 interviewed, believed that the attacks were “suspicious, and that Israel may be behind it.”
Only 8.7 percent of those interviewed thought the attacks were the result of growing Islamic fundamentalism in Europe.
The results of this poll are likely a disappointment to those hoping for a more moderate response from the Palestinian population, but it will not come as a surprise to readers of Al-Hayat al-Jadida. Since the attacks earlier this month, Palestinian Media Watch reported, the official PA media has been filled with conspiracy theories linking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Mossad and Jewish leaders to the Paris attacks.
Some of these op-eds have been more oblique, only implying a connection based on Israel’s benefiting from the terror attacks by way of increased immigration from France. Palestinian journalist Akram Atallah commented on “Panorama of the Hour,” a PA television program, that “The operation (i.e. the terror attacks) served Israel’s demographic [interests]… Government bodies predicted yesterday that 10,000 French Jews would immigrate to Israel.”
Others, however, have been direct and unequivocal in their blaming Israel for the attacks in France. “We have seen that terror[ists] have begun to receive training, weapons and perhaps intelligence from Israel,” Yahya Rabah, a columnist and member of the Fatah Leadership Committee in Gaza, wrote on January 11. He claimed the terror spree “was an [attempt to] target the role of France, which had [lately] begun to rise and assert itself” in December’s vote regarding Palestinian independence.
Muwaffaq Matar, a columnist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, discussed the rise of the Islamic State and anti-Semitism in Europe on January 15. Matar wrote that the latest attacks “raise legitimate questions as to who is behind these crimes, if not the Israeli Intelligence, given that ‘Netanyahu’s Jewish State’ was the only one to benefit from them.”