You rarely hear about Palestinian Arabs openly saying they’d rather live under Israeli rule than a state governed by the Palestinian Authority. At least, not using their real names.
There’s a reason for that.
There are certain things Palestinian Arabs can’t say publicly without risking persecution by their own government. In other words, the Palestinian state that the international community is so intent on creating will not be a place where the basic freedoms you and I enjoy are respected. In contrast to Israel, in a Palestinian state:
- Criticism of the government will be a punishable offense;
- High-level corruption will never be investigated; and
- Homosexuality will not be tolerated.
To name but a few of the problems that will make a Palestinian state no different than any of the other authoritarian regimes that characterize the Middle East.
Is it any wonder that those Palestinian Arabs who have tasted Israeli freedoms and the benefits that come living under the rule of the Jewish state clamor for that blue teudat zehut (ID card)?
But saying so can be dangerous.
It goes against the Palestinian narrative, the myth that gives the PLO-turned-Palestinian Authority its raison d’être.
And so those who would speak so freely, so critically of their own Palestinian regime, put themselves in danger.
Some no longer care. They are fed up.
But it is the reason that when Israel Today spoke earlier this month to Palestinian Arabs living in the areas Israel intends to annex, we honored their request to remain anonymous and not be photographed.
Telling us that they’d gladly accept Israeli residency or citizenship if it were offered could get them in a lot of trouble. (See: “Take the Land, Take the People”)
And that’s precisely what happened to another group of Palestinians who spoke to Israel Channel 13 reporter Tsvi Yehezkeli. (See: “Palestinians on Annexation: We Prefer Israeli Rule!”)
On Sunday, Yehezkeli told Radio 103 in Tel Aviv that most of those Palestinians who were brave enough to speak with him (some revealing their real names and agreeing to appear on camera) have since been arrested and sent to “torture centers.”
“I’m talking about five or six people. All of those who were interviewed for the story – I’m getting so many phone calls from family members of those who were interviewed for the story – both those who spoke openly but said nothing against the Palestinian Authority [PA] and those whose faces were blurred. The PA arrested all of them,” said the veteran Arabic-speaking reporter.
“It was about five or six people who all they said was they prefer an Israeli identity card because the PA is ruining their lives,” he continued. “Right now they are in PA torture centers, and this is simply horrific.”
Indeed, this is much the same as what Palestinian Arabs regularly tell us in private conversations–that the Palestinian Authority is weak, hopelessly corrupt, and has ruined their lives. While very few would describe themselves as “Zionists,” nearly all prefer living under Israeli rule to remaining under the thumb of their current leaders.