PALESTINIANS WHO PREFER ISRAEL
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
The former has been particularly evident of late, especially since Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, floated a trial balloon in October, 2007, about transferring some Arab-dominated areas of eastern Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. As he rhetorically asked about Israeli actions in 1967:
In one swoop, this statement transformed pro-Israel statements by Palestinians (for a sampling, see my 2005 article, "The Hell of Israel Is Better than the Paradise of Arafat") from the mostly theoretical into the active and political.
Indeed, Olmert's musings prompted some belligerent responses. As the title of a Globe & Mail news item puts it, "Some Palestinians prefer life in Israel: In East Jerusalem, residents say they would fight a handover to Abbas regime." The article offers the example of Nabil Gheit, who, with two stints in Israeli prisons and posters of "the martyr Saddam Hussein" over the cash register in his store, would be expected to cheer the prospect of parts of eastern Jerusalem coming under PA control.
Not so. As Mukhtar of Ras Khamis, near Shuafat, Gheit dreads the PA and says he and others would fight a handover.
Two polls released last week, from Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications and the Arabic-language newspaper As-Sennara, survey representative samples of adult Israeli Arabs on the issue of joining the PA, and they corroborate what Gheit says. Asked, "Would you prefer to be a citizen of Israel or of a new Palestinian state?" 62 percent want to remain Israeli citizens and 14 percent want to join a future Palestinian state. Asked, "Do you support transferring the Triangle [an Arab-dominated area in northern Israel] to the Palestinian Authority?" 78 percent oppose the idea and 18 percent support it.
Ignoring the don't-knows/refused, the ratios of respondents are nearly identical, preferring to stay within Israel – 82 percent and 81 percent, respectively. Gheit exaggerates that "no one" wants to live in the PA, but not by much. Thousands of Palestinian residents in Jerusalem who, fearful of the PA, have applied for Israeli citizenship since Olmert's statement further corroborate his point.
Why such affection for the state that Palestinians famously revile in the media, in scholarship, classrooms, mosques and international bodies, the state that they terrorize on a daily basis? Best to let them explain their motivations in direct quotations.
Financial considerations: Ranya Mohammed says:
Law and order: Israeli-Arab journalists Faiz Abbas and Muhammad Awwad note:
Raising children: Jamil Sanduqa says:
A more predictable future: Samar Qassam says:
Others raise concerns about corruption, human rights, and even self-esteem ("When the Jews talk about swapping me, it's as though they are denying my right to be a person").
These earnest views do not repudiate the vicious anti-Zionism that reigns in the Middle East, but they reveal that four-fifths of those Palestinians who know Israel at first-hand understand the attractions of a decent life in a decent country, a fact with important and positive implications.
© Daniel Pipes 2008
Originally Published in the Jerusalem Post, January 2, 2008
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the Daniel Pipes Mailing List,
Article URL: http://www.danielpipes.org/article/
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Dr. Daniel Pipes, a Ph.D. in Islamic History (Harvard University, 1978), is the Founder and Director of the Middle East Forum, the Founder of Campus Watch, a signatory of the Project for the New American Century, a former board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a former adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Golden Circle supporter of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon, a former member of the U.S. Department of Defense Special Task Force on Terrorism and Technology, and a former lecturer at the U.S. Naval War College, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pipes was the Director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute from 1986 to 1993.
Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.
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