Supporters of Israel wonder – sometimes hope – that Islamist attacks in the West, such as what took place in Paris on Friday, will make Westerners more appreciative of the threat of terrorism that Israel faces.
The answer is, it won’t. Events like this tend to reinforce previously held ideas. Those that see Israel at most fault for the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute will point to Muslim grievance at this festering sore and will argue that more pressure needs to be put on Israel to bring about peace – thereby reducing a motivation for potential Islamist terrorists.
Others see Islamist terrorism in the West quite separate from terrorism against Israel. The former, they argue, is religious and the latter is nationalist.
Those that see the Palestinians as sharing most of the blame will identify shared Islamist motivations in attacks against Israel and the West. (That, for instance, is the position of the Israeli prime minister.)
The truth is somewhere in the middle. Palestinians are highly nationalist, compared with al-Qaeda and Islamic State types who want to do away with the notion of states and establish a global caliphate. But Palestinian nationalist discourse is saturated with Islamist doctrine – even when nominally secular groups like Fatah are involved.