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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Some 'Palestinians' know what's good for them

Back in the late 70's, when it was safer to go into the Arab parts of Jerusalem than it is today, I took a guided tour around the walls of Jerusalem's Old City. I remember being just north of the Damascus Gate looking into the City's Muslim and Christian quarters. We stopped and had a view of many houses - each of which had a television antenna. The guide told us that when Israel liberate the Old City in 1967, many of the residents did not have running water, although they all had television antennas. He proudly informed us that by that time - probably 1978 or 1979 - all the residents of the Old City had running water. Amazing it took that long, isn't it? It says something about priorities....

I have reported before that one of the consequences of the 'security fence' is that many 'Palestinians' are trying to move from Judea and Samaria into Jerusalem. The reasons should be obvious to anyone who truly understands what's going on here: the 'Palestinians' under Israeli rule have more rights and better living conditions than nearly all of their brethren in the Arab world. Some of them are even willing to tell the world's media about it.

Hat Tip: Nathan in Teaneck, New Jersey
After 40 years of living under Israeli occupation, two stints in Israeli prisons and a military checkpoint on the same road as his odds-and-ends shop, one would think Nabil Gheit would be happy to hear an Israeli prime minister contemplate handing over parts of East Jerusalem to Palestinian control.

But the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of this divided city, says that he can't think of a worse fate for him and his constituents than being handed over to the weak and ineffective Palestinian Authority right now.

"If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority," Mr. Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon watching Lebanese music videos. "We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA."


Those who live in the neighbourhoods Mr. Olmert spoke of handing over are nonetheless worried that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who is seen as weak and desperate for an achievement after losing control of the Gaza Strip to the Islamist Hamas movement, will accept the offer. They dislike the idea of their neighbourhoods, which are generally more prosperous than other parts of the West Bank, being absorbed into the chaotic Palestinian territories.

Mr. Gheit, with two posters of "the martyr Saddam Hussein" hanging over his cash register, can hardly be called an admirer of the Jewish state. But he says that an already difficult life would get worse if those living in Ras Hamis and the adjoining Shuafat refugee camp were suddenly no longer able to work in Israel, or use its publicly funded health system.

The 53-year-old said he'd be happy to one day live in a properly independent Palestinian state, but not one that looks anything like the corruption-racked and violence-prone areas that are split between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions. "I don't believe in these factions. I only believe in putting bread on the table for my children. I fight only for them. At least in Israel, there's law."

Mr. Gheit said that over the past five years, some 5,000 people have moved into Ras Hamis from other parts of the West Bank, concerned that they would lose their Israeli identification cards if they didn't live within the city limits. There would be a mass exodus into other parts of the city, or other towns in Israel, if it looked likely that Ras Hamis and Shuafat, home to a combined 50,000 people, were about to be declared no longer part of Jerusalem, he said.

There are probably thousands more 'Palestinians' like Mr. Gheit out there who are afraid to speak out.

But give the 'Palestinians' a state reichlet and all of the worlds' problems will be solved.


At 1:23 AM, Blogger nachtwache said...

That says it all!


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