The Palestinians Are Afraid of Abbas’ State

The Palestinians Are Afraid of Abbas’ State
By: Mudar Zahran

As the Palestinian president, Abbas, is pursuing a UN Security Council resolution setting “a three-year time limit for Israel to end its occupation of parts of the West Bank, after which it would automatically recognize Palestine as a state.” This writer visited the West Bank for months, and asked the Palestinians what they thought of Abbas’ statehood bid. As you will see in this report; the Palestinians seem afraid of what Abbas’ state will bring on them, and they sound more concerned with the poor living condition, slow economy and corruption they suffer under the Palestinian Authority (PA). Nonetheless, the Palestinians do not exhibit any love for Israel and are still not reluctant to voice their hatred towards it
I spoke to a tribal figure from Nablus, and asked him what he thought of Abbas’ quest for statehood, he told me: ”This is another bad movie from Abbas, what state? A state of poverty? A police state? This is what the PA brought us since it arrived here”, “Abu Mazen [Abbas] controls some of the West Bank and we are already living a nightmare in those areas, why should we want to expand Abbas’ control to the rest of the West Bank?”, “Before Oslo, we all thought we would have a state instead of occupation, what we got is a state of disaster and a new occupation called the PA”
A businessman from Bethlehem told me: “Abu Mazen went after the statehood to defuse our anger against him and our bad living conditions, he wants something to make him look like a hero, and that is why he is playing this statehood comedy”, “We want a state, but before that we want jobs, food on our tables and running water, these are things Israel secured for us when it was here, and under the PA we cannot even afford the basics of life”, he adds “Take Bethlehem for example, before the PA took over, the Al-Quds street in Bethlehem was a crossway from Israel to Jerusalem, [Israeli] Jews used to travel through it, shop, vacation and invest here, and the city was about the most thriving town in the West Bank, when the PA came, the first thing it did was banning Jews from entering the area and we lost the business that came from them and Bethlehem has been in economic ruins ever since”.
Khaleel is a shop keeper in Jerusalem whose family moved there from Hebron in the 1930s. “I don’t want Jews to take over Jerusalem but it doesn’t means I want Abbas and his men here either”, ‘We are afraid a Palestinian state might mean we will lose our Israeli residency status and become Abbas’ citizens [Israel identifies Arab Jerusalemites as permanent residents of Israel and provides them with full civil rights]… as residents of Israel, we get free healthcare and pensions, if we become citizens of Palestine we will lose all of that”.
Khaleel’s son, a lawyer in training, joined the discussion, he said: ”Most of us [Palestinians] here are afraid of PA takeover of Eastern Jerusalem or any part of it, that is why most of us have applied for Israeli citizenship, we are afraid that we could become Palestinian citizens instead of Israel’s residents…we don’t want to lose everything so Abbas could sit in the UN as head of state”
A souvenir shop owner in Jerusalem –who is a Hamas loyalist and a frequent guest on Hamas’ TV Al-Aqsa– told me: ”I have applied for an Israeli citizenship myself, Israel gives us many benefits and retirement pensions, I will keep working on saving Al-Aqsa from Jews, but I also have to take care of my family and the future of my kids”.

About the Author: Mudar Zahran is the Secretary General of the Jordanian Coalition of Opposition, a known Jordanian- Palestinian politician and writer, who now resides in the UK as a political refugee.

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