After almost 60 years of direct conflict, you would think that the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world would understand the Israelis. You would think that they would try to get inside the mindset of the Israelis – if for no other reason than to manage the conflict better.
You would think that the intellectuals among the Arabs and Palestinians would understand the Israelis. Understanding foreign concepts and ‘thinking outside the box’ are supposed to be one of the jobs of an intellectual.
You would think that those Palestinians who have close, daily contact with Israelis would understand Israel and the Israelis. Familiarity often breeds contempt, but it also fosters understanding.
Part of the problem, I think, lies in the politics of the clan-based nature of Palestinian society. If you are an Al-Kuri, the Al-Kuri clan comes before the Palestinian people, as a whole. And, if you are at war with the Nusseibeh clan… Well, you won’t believe anything that they say, because they can’t be trusted.
In a clan-based society, truth is discovered not by observation, but by clan affiliation.