‘We Don’t Want a Palestinian State, We Just Want to Live Well’
by Gidon Ben-Zvi
While the Palestinian Authority steadfastly refuses to recognize the Jewish character of Israel, many Palestinian-Arabs are ambivalent about the issue, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Monday.
Arabs living in PA-administered territories are much more concerned with mundane issues — such as earning a decent living and providing for their children — than relatively abstract topics, including human rights and the final status of Jerusalem, according to the report.
Abu Muatz, a resident of Dir Isatia located just south of Nablus, said local Palestinian-Arab issues have become an international cause célèbre with dire results.
“It’s frustrating to have politicians from the Arab League and Muslim countries meddle in my life.” Muatz said. “I have this to tell them: do whatever needs to be done in order that the quality of our lives improves. Instead, they expect me to fight on their behalf in order to liberate Jerusalem and the Palestinian people.”
Muatz also dismissed the PA’s claim that it wont sign a peace treaty with Israel until Jerusalem allows all Palestinian-Arabs considered by the UN to be refugees the right to live in Israel proper, Ma’ariv reported.
“I have a brother who lives in Jordan. He lives there with his wife and children. He is still considered a refugee. Do you really think that he plans to ever return to this village?” Muatz said. “All he’s interested in is in being compensated financially for his refugee status. He as well as all the other refuges living in Jordan, Lebanon and anywhere else will never return [to lands currently administered by the Palestinian Authority].”
The entire refugee issue is “nonsense that senior Palestinian officials are peddling to Israel,” he added.
Another voice from the Palestinian Arab street, ‘Soof’ from the village of Foodok was also critical of the PA’s approach to peace making: “Why must I live hand-to-mouth because of Palestinian [Authority] ideology? Enough is enough. We don’t want a Palestinian state, we just want to live well.”
Regarding the issue of Jewish settlements built on lands conquered by Israel in the Six-Day War, Iman Abu Ovayed from the village of Salfiyat said, “Truth be told, many of the settlements were established on lands purchased legally.”
“Arabs have killed Jews, Jews have killed Arabs. Now, it’s time to move forward,” he said.