The majority of Israeli-Arabs are Sunni. They don’t want anything to do with Shiite Iran or Hizbullah or their propaganda machine. In fact, most Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem don't even want a state of their own! They don’t want a “Palestine.” And here’s why:
The Arabs (over 40) that I personally asked in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem told me that they’re worried. If they had their own state, their famous shuk would turn into a pig-stay with dirt, garbage and pollution accumulating by the day. There would be no consistency in their family/children’s lives, and they fear they would be coerced into doing criminal activities against Israelis that are not in their best interests (to put it mildly).
What would lead these business owners to admit that? Here are some salient points about the current state of Palestinian affairs (see Baskin’s article):
• Arab teachers are now striking and their students are angry
• Internal conflicts are rife between the PA Prime Minister and the Finance Minister
• The PA Prime Minister is in open opposition to Mahmoud Abbas
• Abbas himself is under fire from senior Fatah officials re: charges of corruption and mismanagement/misappropriation of funds
• Abbas has little to no legitimacy left with his own constituents, as he has accomplished no real political achievement to date
• New elections are not in the cards anytime soon
• Fatah and Hamas are not getting along; there is no chance of connecting Gaza to the West Bank
The older residents of the Muslim Quarter have told me they have no interest in separating Israel from the West Bank and couldn’t care less about defeating ‘the Zionist Entity.’ With reference to the BDS movement, they fear that BDS can only harm their businesses, and nobody seems to take that into consideration. They also tell me the only reason why Gaza is in such a dreadful state of disarray is solely due to Hamas’ rule, and that if one takes a look at what’s happening in Iraq, Yemen, Libya, or even Nigeria - anywhere a political Islamic organization takes over, the result is destruction, ruin and being forced to live by the sword. And finally, that whole situation has absolutely nothing to do with Israel (as Bernie Sanders might claim).
Just last week Army Radio (and the Arab Media) reported that Egyptian President al-Sisi proposed a plan that would expand Gaza to five times its current size and give PA autonomy in West Bank cities. Abbas was apparently offered 1600 square kilometers in Sinai adjacent to the Gaza Strip in order to form a Palestinian state. It would be a demilitarized area that would serve as a home to which all the Palestinian refugees from Egypt and Jordan that had made their way into Israel a generation ago could return.
What happened?
Abbas rejected the plan outright. Question: Were Jewish refugees ever offered to come back with their house keys to Germany, Poland and the Ukraine after World War II? Not a chance! Instead, what did these same Jews do - complain endlessly about what was taken from them 65 years ago? No, they built their own state, moved on in life and chose not to live in the past. This approach however, is not what the PA wants. Instead, the mainstream media keeps playing the same old record, namely that Israel displaced thousands of Arabs in 1948, and they were here beforehand for hundreds of years, etc., etc. However, a consensus taken in 1864 found twice as many Jews than Arabs in Jerusalem.
Those pesky little facts just keep getting in the way.
What about all the NGO’s that are working on this PA Two-State solution? All of these Israeli left-wing NGO’s that keep popping up with loads of EU cash have got some serious reworking to do. They simply refuse to wake up and smell the humus. Organizations like the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, don’t realize that things would be much worse for Palestinians under PA rule. Or maybe they simply don’t care. Their main objective seems to be to fight the Israeli “occupation,” no matter what the consequences may be afterwards. As we say in Hebrew: “lo hechpat lahem.” And with all due respect to Gaza and the human rights challenges there, all one has to do is pick up a local copy of the Hamas Charter and read their platform solution. Nothing there about building schools and hospitals, or any mention of a peaceful solution for that matter. In fact, just the opposite! Here’s one quote from the Charter: “Peace initiatives, so-called peaceful solutions and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” And further: “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.” The thing is, you don’t need Jihad to accept land from the Egyptians in order to make a state of your own. For all intents and purposes, Abbas’ actions show agreement with the Hamas Charter, if nothing else.
Let’s move into central Israel and check the pulse there. Pick the Arab-Israeli town of Nazareth for example. Many of its inhabitants are Christian Arabs, and if you ask them what they want politically for the future, they say straight out, “We want to continue to live normal lives the way we always have in Israel. Get these Arab politicians out of our town!” They don’t want a Palestinian State, and even more, they don’t want to be convinced to want their own state. In fact, a recent survey published by Channel 2 shows that 55% of Israeli-Arabs say that the Joint List (Arab) Knesset members don’t represent them. 17% of them thought it was a mistake of their MK’s to meet with the families of the dead terrorists and hold a moment of silence and prayer with them.
There’s a big difference however between these citizens and the PA leadership who would rule over them. The former doesn’t want a state because they realize it wouldn’t help them, and it just might do them in, in the long run. They would rather live under Jewish sovereignty, hands down. The latter DOES want a state, but for all the wrong reasons. Since the older generation cannot be convinced that the State of Palestine is in their best interest, the PA has embarked upon a new strategy of incitement (targeting the younger teenager crowd) which has unfortunately led to the latest wave of knife and car-ramming attacks.
Another (new) reason why Palestinians are becoming more and more skeptical about a state of their own is because they are feeling increasingly threatened within their own communities. Just today for example, in the Jerusalem area of Bet Hanina (which would be the future Capital) a 24-year old Arab from Abu Gosh was almost lynched in his own car for the offense of speaking Hebrew. He was speaking on his cellphone with the windows open when a gang surrounded him, reached in the car and tried to take him out. They were shouting: “How dare you speak Hebrew in our community!”
If these incidents are already happening now, one can only imagine what the future would hold for both Jew and Arab, if a Palestinian State were to be realized.