Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Palestinians want

Benny Morris:

"...[I]n a poll run by American pollster Stanley Greenberg, conducted jointly by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, based in Beit Sahur in the West Bank, and the Israel Project, a peace-promoting international nonprofit organization."
the following results are reported:

73 percent of Palestinians approve [of the Hadith that calls for the elimination of Jews] ...

61 percent of Palestinians rejected the American-Israeli formulation for a settlement of the conflict based on two states for two peoples, one for the Arabs and one for the Jews ...

66 percent of those polled adopted the PLO-PNA gradualist approach of a two-stage "solution" to the problem of Israel, approving a first stage in which there would be two states before moving onto "stage two" with the establishment of one Palestinian Arab-majority state over all of Palestine ...

72 percent of those polled denied that there was any historic link [between the Jewish people and Jerusalem] ...

22 percent of those polled supported firing rockets into Israel ...

65 percent favored a diplomatic-political solution to the conflict ...

20 percent preferred the road of violence ...

2 percent thought Abbas should focus on peace talks with Israel."
Morris concludes that:

" This perhaps reflects the average Palestinian's tiredness of the conflict and unwillingness to pay the costs of violence while supporting the goal of Israel's elimination. Eighty-three percent of those polled thought that PNA President Mahmoud Abbas's priority should be creating jobs. But only 2 percent thought it should be peace talks with Israel."

The statistics appear to reflect some confusion on the part of Palestinians as to what they really want. They want Israel destroyed, Jews eliminated, but support a dipolimatic solution to the conflict. It seems they resolve the paradox by declaring that a diplomatic solution is only temporizing, until the final solution is achieved.

This perplexing and seemingly contradictory position is reflected in an article by Michael Totten, about his last visit to Jerusalem, where he
" met an Arab who said he’s ready to die in a nuclear holocaust as long as the bomb destroys Israel."

"There can be no real peace with Israel or with Jews, believe me,” he said. “You are dreaming of peace, but there will never be peace.”

“But you just had Jewish customers in your store,” I said, “and you were friendly to them.”

“Yes,” he said, “because I need their money and don’t care if they are Jewish. If this was a Hezbollah store, Hezbollah would tell them to leave.”

He admires Hezbollah, but isn’t necessarily willing to emulate them or to run off and join Hamas as a fighter or suicide bomber.

“I don’t want to fight,” he said. “I just want my rights.”


“Hezbollah is more honest than me,” he said.

“How so?” I said.

“They will fight,” he said, “and they will die for what they believe in. I care about my shop and supporting my family, my children.”

I’m not sure “honest” is precisely the word he was looking for. Perhaps what he meant is that Hezbollah fighters are more true to themselves than he is."

Trying to understand a little better how the interpret his interviewee's positions, Totten talks to an Israeli "expert" on the Arab side of the city:

"There are many different streams in the society,” he said, “but this is also true of many individuals. There are two different political lexicons among the Palestinians, and you can hear both from the same people. A person will tell you the Jews should be killed because they’re the enemies of God, they don’t have any rights here, and so on. But the next day he’ll say we’re all brothers, we’re all human beings, we have to co-exist here in the Holy Land. I hear both from the same people.”

“What do you make of that?” I said.

“I don’t understand it,” he said. “If they say one thing to one person and something different to somebody else, that I can understand. I don’t have an explanation for why I hear such different things from the same person. The culture does have two different lexicons, though. It has one of peace and one of struggle, one of human rights and one of…I don’t know what.”

The only explanation I can think of is that they have two contradictory yet sincere thoughts in their hearts and their minds at the same time. Most humans have mixed feelings about some things, and it only makes sense that a Palestinian who lives in Israel and has nearly all the same rights as Israeli Jews will be pulled in opposing directions more than most people are.

“Do you think they’re sincere when they say each contradictory thing?” I asked Cohen.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Do you have ever ask them about this?” I said.

“Yes, of course,” he said.

“What do they say?” I said.

“Nothing memorable,” he said. “I don’t remember anything significant. I became aware of this many years ago. Of course, at the beginning I was shy to ask, but then I started asking the people I knew better before I finally had to stop. They’re confused, but they don’t have anything interesting to say about it. They’ll say something like, ‘Yes, you know, well, this is Islam, it’s written in our book, so we have to say it, but we don’t always mean it.’ They’ll also say, ‘in Islam you can also find other things, not only that we should kill the Jews.’”

He wanted to know why I came to him to learn about Arabs, which is a very good question. And I have a good reason.

“Because you’ll tell me things that they won’t,” I said.

“That’s because they tell me things that they won’t tell you,” he said.

“Exactly,” I said.

“They’ll tell you about the Jews, though,” he said. “They will tell you many interesting things. They wanted to say ‘Stop using Muslim blood in your Matzoh’ at their demonstrations, but it didn’t pass the slogans committee of the Israeli left.” He laughed. He’s a jokey kind of guy even in a serious interview. I don’t know if he was kidding about both halves of that sentence or only the second part."


At 11:05 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

add to the conundrums whether the government of Norway will suddenly decide to ask for Israeli help on counter-terrorism, once the Norwegians figure out who and why behind the car bomb...

I read Benny Morris a few days ago, nice to link it to Totten.

ginzy added a long comment this a.m. to arnon's "noga&k2k-frei" thread :)



Post a Comment

<< Home