WEST BANK — Palestinians in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley interviewed by Breitbart News overwhelmingly expressed support for the government’s plans to extend Israeli law over areas they are residing in, citing fairer rule under Israel than the Palestinian Authority which many see as corrupt.
“I think it will be better to live under Israel[i law]. Anything is better than the Palestinian Authority which just steals our money,” I. from the northern West Bank told Breitbart News.
According to A, also from the northern West Bank, “the whole world is against the plan” for Israeli sovereignty. “The Jordanians, the other Arabs, the Europeans. But no one has asked the Palestinians what they want.”
When countered with the fact the Palestinian leadership has made it clear annexation would absolve it of any agreements with Israel, K. responded, “who cares what the [leadership] thinks? They don’t care about us.”
M. from Hebron said, “Ask me or any of my friends. We all prefer to be under Israel. Maybe we will have better jobs, more pay, anything is better than this.”
On Monday, a rally in the Jordan Valley organized by Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party drew thousands. When asked to explain how thousands came to protest the annexation, O. was dismissive.
“So what? They told us to close the markets, to close the mosques because of corona but they had a huge protest so people came. It makes no sense,” he said.
Asked if he is concerned that annexation will harm chances of the creation of a Palestinian state, S. answered in English, “We don’t have any chance to have Palestinian state, for a lot of reasons, most important is the corruption in existence in the Palestinian Authority, I think it is the highest in the Middle East.”
Here’s the interesting part: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Palestinians in the Jordan Valley will not get Israeli citizenship – at least in the first stages of annexation – and will continue to have voting rights in the PA. Under a peace agreement, it is possible they will receive citizenship of some kind of Israeli residency, similar to Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem – though not in the immediate future.
This fact doesn’t seem to deter S. either. “I’m OK with that. I wish we will not have the PA too.”
Sf. from Jericho noted that in the early 1990s, when Israel had administrative control over his hometown of Jericho in the Jordan Valley before it was handed to the PA, “things were much better.”
“I am a bit hesitant now to accept [annexation] since the plan is not clear and I don’t know what the conditions will be. But still, having Israeli police will be better than Palestinian police who do not care about anything and just arresting you for no reason.”
M. from East Jerusalem, however, said he opposed the Israeli measure because it makes it “almost impossible to obtain a Palestinian state.”
He also noted that Palestinians felt “despair and sadness” because they don’t know what the future holds.
Meanwhile, Palestinians interviewed by veteran Israeli journalist Zvi Yechezkeli for Israel’s Channel 13 all said they prefer life under Israeli sovereignty to life under the corrupt PA.
“The soldier’s military boots are preferable to Abu Mazen on my head,” said one, referring to Abbas by his nickname.
One Palestinian resident in village in the Jordan Valley told Yechezkil that “100 percent” of the villagers “prefer Netanyahu and no one else.”
Another said, “We don’t want a state. We want money. We want to live.”
A Palestinian policeman, with a salary from the PA, said, “In Israel, there’s law and order, there’s governance. Life is good. Here there’s no law and order. Aid money comes from Israel and Europe, the [PA] steals it… It goes to Abu Mazen, to those leaders, while we eat sh*t.”
He went on to say that he, and all 60 of his subordinates, prefer Israeli sovereignty.
Ashraf Jabari, a Palestinian businessman who was arrested by the PA for attending Trump’s peace summit in Bahrain, recently claimed 90 percent of Palestinians want to live under Israeli sovereignty.
“Today, 90 percent of the Palestinian nation is certain: the only solution is for us to live under Israeli control,” he said.
“They don’t care whether or not they will be citizens,” he continued. “They want to forget about the entire conflict and all the problems that come with it.”
A Palestinian poll released Wednesday has been circulated on some Israeli news outlets as proof that most Palestinians reject Israeli’s plan to apply Israeli law, when in fact, that question was not posed to respondents. Instead, respondents were asked if they believe Israel will go ahead with the plans to annex (66 percent said they do) and what should be done if annexation happens (71 percent said all ties with Israel should be cut.) With regards to opposition to Trump’s peace plan, an overwhelming majority of Palestinians, some 88 percent, reject it – but it is worth noting that that number was even higher 4 months ago (94 percent) before annexation was imminent.
Speaking to Breitbart News, Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, said while Israel’s decision to extend Israeli law “will have no impact on the daily life of the Palestinians,” the measure was really about “the daily lives of Israelis.”
“Applying Israeli law is crucial to demonstrate that the Jewish presence in these places is legitimate and permanent – that Israel has no intention of ethnic cleansing its own population at the Palestinians’ insistence,” Kontorovich said.
An original version of this article contained identifying details including names and locations. Those details have been changed to protect the people who agreed to be interviewed by Breitbart News. This is in light of developments since the release of this article, in which Breitbart News has learned that those Palestinians who agreed to be interviewed by Zvi Yechezkeli have been arrested by the Palestinian security police.