June 22, 2007

All occupation, 12 percent of the time

By Noah Pollak

At the end of a news story in today's NY Times about the efforts of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel to shore up the Abbas presidency, Steven Erlanger cites the results of a just-released poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research:

The poll, taken between June 14 and 20, indicated a further loss of confidence in Palestinian leadership and anger with the infighting. The poll of 1,270 adults, done in face-to-face interviews in both the West Bank and Gaza, has a margin of sampling error of three percentage points.
Palestinian satisfaction with Mr. Abbas dropped to 36 percent from 48 percent in March. Some 75 percent of those surveyed want early presidential and parliamentary elections. About 58 percent support the new emergency government, while 38 percent oppose it. In Gaza, opposition is at 47 percent.
The polls show little change from March in support for each of the groups. In new legislative elections, among those polled, Fatah would get 43 percent of the vote, unchanged from March; Hamas would get 33 percent.
Most Palestinians polled — 59 percent — said they saw Fatah and Hamas as equally responsible for the infighting, and 71 percent said that both sides were losers. About 70 percent believe that the chances for an independent Palestinian state are low or nonexistent.
And 56 percent said that infighting and the lack of law and order were the greatest threats to Palestinians, followed by poverty (21 percent), the Israeli occupation (12 percent) and international sanctions and boycotts (10 percent).

Polling data like these is particularly useful and interesting when it comes to the views of Palestinians, whose western spokesmen are legion. It has always struck me that there is a profound disconnect between what Palestinians themselves believe and what their western champions claim they believe -- which makes me wonder about the extent to which their champions actually care about them, or rather are fixated on promoting a Palestinian narrative that suits their own purposes.

Posted by Noah Pollak at June 22, 2007 12:23 PM
Comments

It has always struck me that there is a profound disconnect between what Palestinians themselves believe and what their western champions claim they believe

Indeed. Similarly when Western liberals try to explain our role in causing terroris "blowback" I know I'm hearing the same tired litany of Liberal grievances, not jihadi ones. What jihadis ACTUALLY say they want or resent often has zero resemblance to what their Western champions say they want/resent. My favorite blowback canard is the tired one about Mossadeq, as if jihadis give a rat's ASS that we helped overthrow some old socialist 50 years ago. LOL. Jihadis back then were happy to see him go too!

Posted by: Carlos at June 22, 2007 02:04 PM

It has always struck me that there is a profound disconnect between what Palestinians themselves believe and what their western champions claim they believe -

There are sane palestinians who understand that they are in an incredibly shitty situation and they know exactly why that is.

The problem is that stating such things- much less acting on them- gets you killed for 'collaborating with the Israelis'.

- which makes me wonder about the extent to which their champions actually care about them, or rather are fixated on promoting a Palestinian narrative that suits their own purposes.

Their 'champions' don't give a rodent's anus about Moe Pali. What they care about is promoting a narrative that keeps the foreign aid flowing, so they can skim off as much as possible.

Follow the money.

Posted by: rosignol at June 22, 2007 02:39 PM

rosignol:

Prove that speaking out will get a Palestinian killed as a collaborator. I keep hearing this kind of stuff from Israel-apologist crowd too much. I assume people don't speak out against Hamas because they agree with them.

Posted by: Doug at June 22, 2007 05:35 PM

Doug,

I have a better idea. I dare you to walk the length of Gaza holding a big sign denouncing Hamas as an illegitimate terrorist group. If you come back alive, I'll pay you double your expenses for the trip.

Of course we all know you can do that in Israel.

oh but wait! You'll never get the event covered in the news because there are no journalists in Gaza. There are journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Iran and even in N. Korea. Gaza is too dangerous.

But I'm sure you'll be safe. Film yourself doing it and put it on youtube. I'll accept that as proof.

Game?

Posted by: Adam D. at June 22, 2007 07:18 PM

Doug:

Prove that speaking out will get a Palestinian killed as a collaborator. I keep hearing this kind of stuff from Israel-apologist crowd too much. I assume people don't speak out against Hamas because they agree with them.

As if Palestinian Arabs keeping silent because they agree with Hamas is a good thing? Why, if I didn't know better I'd bet the house you're an "Israel-apologist", too.

Posted by: Lil Mamzer at June 22, 2007 07:18 PM

Prove that speaking out will get a Palestinian killed as a collaborator.

Speaking out? Not necessary.

Being accused of collaboration with Israel is all that is required.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070615.GAZAMAIN15/TPStory/TPInternational/Africa/

[...]

The Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades of Hamas said in a statement it had "executed the collaborator Samih al-Madhoun", a head of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Gaza.

[...]

Does anyone seriously think that the head of the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, which conducted dozens of suicide bombings in Israel, was collaborating with the Israelis?

Then there's this...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article1901103.ece

[...]

More than a dozen Palestinian collaborators, who fled Gaza with their families after neighbours discovered they were acting as secret agents of Israel, have since settled in Sderot.

Unable to return to Gaza, where the stigma of collaboration is enough to get them lynched, they are exiled to Israel, where they rarely find acceptance.

[...]

I keep hearing this kind of stuff from Israel-apologist crowd too much.

That's because it's true. That you don't want to believe it is irrelevant.

I assume people don't speak out against Hamas because they agree with them.

Well, you should know what they say about assuming... I assure you, in this case it's true. Of you, at least.

Posted by: rosignol at June 22, 2007 09:49 PM

Noah,
It was on this site (I'm pretty sure, unless I'm mistaken) that I saw you linking to an article that suggested that it doesn't matter what the majority want in the Israeli - Palestinian conflict since in the end it is the extremists that drag everyone into situation which is unsolvable. when I read the article i was a little uncomfortable with it since I didn't like the equating of Hamas to Israeli settlers, but it is a fair point.
I know for sure - I have absolutely no doubt - that a majority of Israelis would vote in favor of a deal that would return us to something very close to '67 borders, but can you imagine the settler movement's reaction?
On the other side of the fence, I'm pretty sure most Palestinians would also have prefered to accept the Camp David accords in 2000.

But then again, the "Arab Street" is legendary in its thirst for Israeli blood.

Posted by: jonorose at June 22, 2007 09:50 PM

The murder of Arab moderates stretches back long before even the founding of Israel, to the 1930s when Hitler's buddy and PLO founder al-Husseini carried out an assassination campaign against them. Really, Doug, you should just keep your piehole shut when you don't know what the f*ck you're talking about.

And if Palestinians do agree with Hamas, is that to their credit? As was pointed out in a previous thread the Hamas charter explicitly calls for the murder of Jews (not "just" Israelis or Zionists), not to mention their known activities such as suicide bombing and throwing Palestinian rivals off of buildings. Well, maybe Doug thinks it's to their credit.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at June 22, 2007 10:26 PM

Doug:

Duh, gee, how about this?

http://danish.newsvine.com/_news/2007/05/28/742718-hamas-warns-journalists-against-dissent-dont-criticize-shellings-or-no-mercy-on-any-one-who-cullude-with-the-enemy

Why don't you use a little common sense, fool? Is there anywhere in the Middle East (apart from Israel) where criticism of the government or a weaponized power bloc is tolerated? Now extrapolate this to the Palestinians, whose violence is off the charts, even by middle east standards. The answer is obvious. Conversely, do you know of any free society where there isn't a lively dissent? Or do Arabs have a unique quality of always agreeing with the ruling party?

Finally, why don't you look at the polling numbers in the article, they speak for themselves.

People like you, apologists for totalitarian movements like Hamas, are the worst enemies the Palestinians have. Indeed, the worst enemies of all victims of totalitarian regimes.

Posted by: MarkC at June 22, 2007 10:34 PM

MarkC: Is there anywhere in the Middle East (apart from Israel) where criticism of the government or a weaponized power bloc is tolerated?

I agree with the point you're making to Doug here, but I would like to answer that question: yes, in Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 23, 2007 12:46 AM

Michael, concerning Turkey, also if you are a Kurd?

Posted by: Suzanne at June 23, 2007 03:00 AM

MJT: You're quite right. I don't really consider Turkey part of the Middle East, more like central Asia, and Iraq is an American protectorate. I thought of stating an exception for Lebanon, but didn't bother, as it seems such a small and fragile exception to the general rule.

Posted by: MarkC at June 23, 2007 03:17 AM

There's dissent in Iran - not exactly tolerated but persistent nevertheless.

Also, here's an interesting bit from a report I read recently:
"One Palestinian reporter, a guy in his late twenties who lived most of his life in Jordan, told me he much preferred Ramallah to Amman. He said he felt far freer to express his opinion and live as he wished in Ramallah. “The Jordanian secret police are real bastards,” he said. “Nobody dares to speak openly about politics in Amman."

http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/06/an_israeli_in_ramallah.php

While it would be going to far to predict that Hamas would not attempt to rule this place, they would clearly have to contend with cultural forces that reach in from the outside world in a way that doesn't happen in Gaza.

Posted by: Adam D. at June 23, 2007 08:19 AM

Actually, the Israeli gov't should guarantee press freedom in the territories. It is the legal occupying power and that would be among its reasonable prerogatives. Doesn't the US do that in Iraq?

Posted by: Adam D. at June 23, 2007 08:30 AM

Suzanne: Michael, concerning Turkey, also if you are a Kurd?

I'm not sure how much reform has been implemented, but it's been getting better because Turkey is trying to get into the European Union.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 23, 2007 10:55 AM

Adam D.,

I'm not sure if - legally speaking - Israel considers itself an 'occupier' (a loaded legal term). However, various powers were granted to the PLO as part of the Oslo Accords. I haven't checked, but one of those probably includes the right to make laws in those areas turned over to PLO control.

Posted by: MattW at June 23, 2007 02:28 PM

It is a legal occupation.

correct about oslo, but olso is dead. time to move on.

Posted by: Adam D. at June 23, 2007 03:35 PM

Noah,

I wouldn't leap to the conclusion that only 12% of Palestinians think "the occupation" is a major problem from this poll; one of the major "problems" with infighting is that it channels energy away from other projects. If you had a poll asking "what should Hamas and Fatah be spending their energy on rather than fighting each other", I'm fairly certain a large portion of respondents would say "fighting Israel". Wish I was wrong . . . but I doubt it.

Adam,

"Actually, the Israeli gov't should guarantee press freedom in the territories. It is the legal occupying power and that would be among its reasonable prerogatives. Doesn't the US do that in Iraq?"

You know what? Lets put aside the question of whether you are legally correct in any of your assumptions or legal claims, and move directly to the practical:

What steps could Israel take to "protect press freedoms in the territories" that you would actually be in favor of? Given that the only way to, say, stop armed gangs (including Hamas and Fatah) from kidnapping reporters or killing people who report things they disagree with would be a projection of Israeli force into the territories - you know, Israeli military personnel on the streets of Gaza City and all that - something that, I take it from your post, you would not be particularly in favor of, what would you have the Israelis do? Drop leaflets asking the Palestinians to pretty-please treat reporters nicely? Or is the Palestinian assault on press freedoms yet another of their societal problems that would magically disappear if Israel simply gave the Palestinians what they claim to want (or, even better, ceased to exist entirely)?

I anxiously await your detailed proposal of steps Israel could take, with your support, to guarantee press freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza.

Posted by: Akiva M. at June 23, 2007 10:18 PM

> something that, I take it from your post,
> you would not be particularly in favor of

you took that from my post?

Posted by: Adam D. at June 24, 2007 11:51 AM

I would like to see a Palestinian poll about peace with Israel.

One mistake Israel is making involves the LACK of concern Israel has over the murder of Palestinians, by Palestinians. I don't believe the Israelis, today (nor in the past), can stop it, nor punish the guilty. BUT -- they can name the victims, and point out, with names, how intolerant the Palestinians are. How the Palestinians fail fail fail to punish the guilty murderers.

When murderers are not stopped, and punished, they keep murdering. The failure of the PA to punish murders is something they should be ashamed of, and publicity would help.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at June 24, 2007 05:58 PM
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