Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem prefer Israeli rule


The people who were polled were not even Israeli Arabs, that is, Israeli citizens enjoying the same political rights as Israeli Jews. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald

As is well known, kak izvestnocomme nous le savons touscome sappiamo tutti, Israel is surely a hell on earth, a nasty little Sparta always picking fights with its inoffensive neighbors, a settler-colonial state erected on stolen land, an apartheid state that blights the lives of innocent Palestinians, a vicious statelet that makes of Gaza an open-air prison, a neighborhood bully that routinely thumbs its nose at the international community, which just the other day at the UN passed nine resolutions denouncing Israel for its mistreatment of the Palestinians, its illegal settlements, its brutal settlers, its wolfish inhumanity. Who can not feel sympathy for Israeli Arabs, or for Palestinian Arabs living in places like East Jerusalem, who must want so desperately to be free at last from the endless oppression of the Zionists? What can one say, confronted with such cruelty? Oh, the humanity!

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that farcical riff or idiotic niffnoff out of the way, the idiocy that Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Linda Sarsour, Peter Beinart, and Roger Waters, among so many others, want you to believe, let’s have a salutary dose of reality, shall we?

That dose of reality comes from a public opinion poll, taken by a Palestinian media outlet, the “Shfa news outlet,” in Jerusalem. Here is the report on that poll: “Report: 93% of Polled Arab Residents of Jerusalem Prefer Israeli Rule to Palestinian Authority,” Algemeiner, December 14, 2021:

A new poll of Arab residents of Jerusalem by a Palestinian media outlet found that 93% of them prefer to remain under Israeli rule and would not give up their Israeli identity card.

Arab residents of Jerusalem are, for the most part, not Israeli citizens, but can request citizenship if they wish. Those who are not citizens carry a special ID card allowing them freedom of movement within Israel proper.

The poll conducted by the Shfa news outlet asked 1,200 Arab Jerusalemites — none of them Israeli citizens — regarding their preference for living under Israeli or Palestinian rule in the future.

1,116 of the respondents said they prefer for Israel to continue to rule Jerusalem. 84 said they preferred the Palestinian Authority, but 79 of those said they would not give up their current identity card.

Those who were polled want overwhelmingly for Jerusalem not to be divided, nor any bit of it handed over to the Palestinian Authority. They are no fools. Under Israeli rule since 1967, east Jerusalem has thrived. lsrael’s leaders, and those municipal leaders who run the city of Jerusalem, must answer to the voters. If those voters disapprove of the job being done, they vote those leaders out. Compare that to life under the Palestinian Authority, whose President, Mahmoud Abbas, is entering the seventeenth year of his four-year-term. Abbas promised at the beginning of this year to hold both parliamentary and presidential elections in May and July, respectively, but once he realized that his party would lose seats and he himself would be defeated, with any conceivable opponent sure to get at least 60% of the vote, he canceled the elections. When dissidents prove too effective in their criticism of Abbas and the PA, they are silenced. Peaceful protests against him are put down violently. His critics can lose their jobs. Some are imprisoned or forced into exile, like Mohammad Dahlan, now living in the UAE. The latest victim of Abbas’ rule was Nizar Banat, who was beaten to death by Abbas’ goons.

Israel is a government of laws. When its leaders are found to have broken the law, they are punished. Former President Moshe Katsav served five years in jail for sexual crimes. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sent to prison for five years for taking bribes of $160,000. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now faces trial for corruption, accused of receiving both money and items of value (champagne, cigars, Mariah Carey tickets) amounting to several hundred thousand dollars. He will be tried and, If convicted, go to jail. Israeli justice is meted out to all. Compare these cases with that of Mahmoud Abbas, the scale of whose corruption is a thousand times greater than that involving Olmert or, should he be found guilty, Netanyahu. Mahmoud Abbas has amassed, with his two sons Tarek and Yasser, a family fortune that is now worth some $400 to $600 million. But neither Abbas, nor any of the others in the PA’s political echelon who have managed to make off with many millions skimmed from foreign donors, will ever face trial, or be forced to disgorge some of what they stole. The P.A. is a kleptocracy, and the Palestinians in Jerusalem know it.

The people who were polled were not even Israeli Arabs, that is, Israeli citizens enjoying the same political rights as Israeli Jews. They were – are — Palestinians living in Jerusalem, who though not citizens, have Israeli ID cards that allows them to travel freely all through the country. But they do not have voting rights. Nonetheless, they obviously have had occasion to compare their lot with that of Palestinians in the PA-ruled territories, and they overwhelmingly prefer that Israel continue to rule over Jerusalem, rather than that part of Jerusalem be put under the rule of the Palestinian Authority.

They know that Israel is not an “apartheid” state. They know that Jerusalem is not an “apartheid” city. They know that Arabs serve in the Knesset, sit on the Supreme Court, are sent abroad as Israeli ambassadors. They know that the chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. The polled Palestinians know that Jews and Arabs in Israel work in the same offices and factories, are doctors and nurses in the same hospitals, treating both Arab and Jewish patients. They know that Jews and Arabs play on the same sports teams, and in the same orchestras. They know that Jews and Arabs start businesses together – everything from restaurants to high-tech start-ups. Does Ilhan Omar know any of that? Does Rashida Tlaib? Does Roger Waters? And if they did, would they ever admit it?

2,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem were polled, and 1,116 said they preferred, wanted, ardently desired, that they continue to be ruled by Israel and not by the corrupt, cruel, dictatorial Palestinian Authority. That’s a 96% vote in favor of Israel. And of the remaining 84 – that is 4% of the sample – who said they preferred to be ruled by the Palestinian Authority, 79 of them still wanted to keep their Israeli identity cards, to maintain a link with the Jewish state. There is a disconnect here between what those 79 said to the pollsters, and what they think. I can only surmise that they may have been afraid to express a preference for being ruled by Israel – why take a chance? – and so they claimed they preferred to be ruled by the PA, but — nota bene – they still wanted to cling to their Israeli identity cards. It’s at least a plausible explanation. Only 5 out of 2000 wanted both to be ruled by the Palestinian Authority, and to voluntarily relinquish the identity cards issued by the government of Israel.

I wonder If the results of this poll of Palestinians in Jerusalem will be reported on in the New York Times or the Washington Post, or Le Monde, or Le Figaro, or The Guardian. Will it be mentioned on the BBC or Agence France-Presse or Deutsche Welle? Of course not. But perhaps someone in Congress will read aloud the report on this poll, making sure it is placed in the Congressional Record. Perhaps, too, at the kangaroo court of the UN’s General Assembly, where Israel is perennially in the dock, Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan could perform a service and read out the results of this poll, with those 1,116 Palestinians, out of 1,200, preferring to live under Israeli rule rather than that of the Palestinian Authority. Imagine the furor and confusion of the Arab and Muslim delegations. Imagine the evident distress and chagrin of the stunned ambassador from the non-existent “State of Palestine.”

Now that’s a scene I’d like to see.

Wouldn’t you?


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