WHAT ORDINARY PALESTINIANS WANT
by John Spritzler
July 14, 2021
The URL of this article for sharing it is https://www.pdrboston.org/what-ordinary-palestinians-want
What ordinary Palestinians and Israelis, as opposed to their respective “leaders,” want can be inferred from an event that I read about back in 2001. On August 30, 2001 in the West Bank Palestinian village of Ni'elin, Amos Tagouri, a 60-year-old Israeli Jewish cab driver, was having breakfast in a little restaurant just opened by his Palestinian friend, Mursi Amira, when a masked gunman walked up to his table and fatally shot him. Tagouri was an Israeli Jew in a village of Palestinians who were largely unemployed because Israel wouldn't let them travel to their former jobs in Israel. But he was highly regarded by the people of Ni'elin.
According to the Boston Globe report of the incident (September 1, 2001), Amira said:
"Amos was one of us. He knew our culture. If he prayed with us he would have been one of us completely. . . . This is a bigger loss for us than for the Jews...he helped people here a lot. He was not rich, but he drove the farmers to sell their cactus fruit and figs in Israel, and if they didn't have enough money to pay until after the market, he accepted that...The whole village is angry. The people of this village spit on this. It is an act of cowardice."
Mustafa Amira, a vegetable stand owner, said, "He helped us. He respected us, we respected him. Hamas, Fatah - I don't know" who killed him. "I know they are a gang." Amira's mother condemned the killers. "They think if they kill him, the Israelis crack down, and the village will be radicalized. I hope it will not happen." "The extremists do not want peace," said Sakhi Hayun, 34, owner of the Sandwich Bar in Modi'in and former employer of Amira and his brother. "That's why they kill Arab and Israeli civilians in the road. Ninety percent of the people, both Israelis and Arabs, do not support this."
The Boston Globe reported this as a freak event, calling the village the "rarest of places in the bitter struggle that has convulsed Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories for 11 months—a place where one side cried over a death on the other." But what happened in Ni'elin is what Arab and Jewish elites are afraid will happen everywhere unless they can prevent it by spreading fear and mistrust with terrorism and government-sponsored discrimination.
This is why, for example, the Israeli government was afraid of the solidarity between Jews and Arabs that was developing in the struggle against the construction of a super highway. On October 15, 2001, Arab residents of Baka al Gharabiya and Jatt demonstrated against the Israeli government's plan to confiscate 2,800 dunams of their land for the Trans-Israel Highway. While Arabs in Israel own only 3% of the privately held land, 85% of the land confiscated for the highway (travel on which is restricted for non-Jews) had been taken from Palestinian Israelis, destroying agricultural land they needed to survive. Jews in Israel rallied to support the Arab protest, arguing that "The highway will effectively deepen cleavages between Jews and Arabs, rich and poor, taking jobs from poor peasants and farmers, to make transportation more convenient for the rich." Jewish residents of nearby Kibbutz Magal and Ma'anit told the Israeli government that, if the road must be built, the land confiscation should not discriminate against non-Jews, and for that reason they proposed an alternative plan that entailed giving over some of their land to their Palestinian neighbors in a logical compromise. But the Israel Lands Authority and Ariel Sharon's government insisted that the plans move forward without changes. The incident is but one example of why Palestinians are fighting the Israeli government.
Incidents like these show that most people in Palestine and the part of it called Israel want peace and security in a society based on equality, concern for one another and mutual aid. Their leaders want society to be unequal, with them at the top ruling over and dominating everybody else.
The truth is that if the Israeli ruling class stopped treating Palestinians like dirt*, then most Palestinians would view Hamas's violent terrorism against ordinary noncombatant Jews--and any advocacy whatsoever of violence against people just because they are Jews--as criminally immoral behavior.
WHY DID PALESTINIANS VOTE FOR HAMAS IN GAZA?
There are two reasons many Palestinians voted for Hamas in Gaza's elections.
First, Hamas has two branches, a social work branch and a military branch. The social work branch operates various social services for Palestinians, "from the supply of housing, food and water for the needy to more general functions like financial aid, medical assistance, educational development and religious instruction." Many Palestinians voted for Hamas to keep these social services going.
Second, the only election competitor to Hamas is the Fatah Party affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is widely known to be notoriously corrupt and in cahoots with the Israeli government as the party in charge of the Palestine Authority, as discussed here. Many Palestinians voted for Hamas because the alternative was far more corrupt and far more obviously in cahoots with the Israeli government.
Most Muslims in the World, like Most Jews, Oppose Violence Against Noncombatant Civilians.
Read the linked articles below about this.
Extremism Widely Rejected
Muslims around the world strongly reject violence in the name of Islam. Asked specifically about suicide bombing, clear majorities in most countries say such acts are rarely or never justified as a means of defending Islam from its enemies. In most countries where the question was asked, roughly three-quarters or more Muslims reject suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians. And in most countries, the prevailing view is that such acts are never justified as a means of defending Islam from its enemies. Yet there are some countries in which substantial minorities think violence against civilians is at least sometimes justified. This view is particularly widespread among Muslims in the Palestinian territories (40%), Afghanistan (39%), Egypt (29%) and Bangladesh (26%).
"Almost all radical movements in today’s Islam, anywhere in the world, are tied to Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative, reactionary sect of Islam, which is in control of the political life of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other staunch allies of the West in the Gulf.
"To quote Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi:
“It is very clear from the historical record that without British help neither Wahhabism nor the House of Saud would be in existence today. Wahhabism is a British-inspired fundamentalist movement in Islam. Through its defense of the House of Saud, the US also supports Wahhabism directly and indirectly regardless of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Wahhabism is violent, right wing, ultra-conservative, rigid, extremist, reactionary, sexist, and intolerant…”"
"Killing of innocent people has no place in Islam…Or the Hadith that states "Whoever kills a mu'ahid [non-combatant, innocent non-Muslims] will not smell the scent of paradise …" (Bukhari). A contextual reading of the Koran or Hadith leads to one conclusion only: there is no justification for the killing of innocent people, whether in Baghdad or Boston. Full stop! The ends do not justify the means in Islamic ethics!
Therefore, associating murder or the killing of innocent people and bystanders to "Islam" is not only abhorrent, but goes against the clear text of Islam."
"Should We Blame Islam for Terrorism?" by David Shariatmadari
* A major way that the Israeli government treats Palestinians like dirt is a) having violently removed most of the Palestinians from the 78% of Palestine that is now called Israel (which is ethnic cleansing) the Israeli government denies the Palestinian refugees their right of return; b) the Israeli government refuses to justly compensate the Palestinian refugees for their property, such as their homes and land, that was stolen by Zionists during the ethnic cleansing; c) the Israeli government in law [PDF, give it time to load] and otherwise harshly discriminates against Palestinians because they are not Jewish. Read more about this here.