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TBC Staff

Pro-Israel Palestinians [Excerpts]
For all their rhetoric about Israel's "vicious" and "brutal" occupation, Palestinians -- including their leaders -- sometimes let down their guard and candidly acknowledge how much they prefer Israel to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Here are some of their themes:
Restraints on violence. After the PA police raided the house of a Hamas supporter in an after-midnight operation, roughed up both him and his 70-year-old father, the father yelled at the police, "Even the Jews did not behave like you cowards." And the son, when he came out of the PA jail, declared his experience there much worse than in the Israeli ones. An opponent of Yasir Arafat pointed out how Israeli soldiers "would first fire tear gas, and then fire rubber bullets and only then shoot live ammunition . . . . But these Palestinian police started shooting immediately."
Rule of law. Haydar 'Abd ash-Shafi', a Gazan leader, once observed, "Can anyone imagine that a family would be happy to hear a knock at the door in the middle of the night from the Israeli Army?" He went on: "When the infighting began in Gaza, the people were happy because the Israeli Army imposed a curfew." . . .
Minority rights. Christians and secular Muslims particularly appreciate Israel's protection at a time when Palestinian politics has taken an increasingly Islamist cast. A Christian Palestinian declares that when the Palestinian state comes into existence, "the sacred union against the Zionist enemy will die. It will be time to settle accounts. We will undergo the same as our Lebanese brothers or the Copts in Egypt. It saddens me to say so, but Israeli laws protect us."
Freedom of expression. In an ironic turn of events, Na'im Salama, a lawyer living in Gaza, was arrested by the PA on charges he slandered it by writing that Palestinians should adopt Israeli standards of democracy; for his audacity, he spent time in jail. Hanan Ashrawi, an obsessive anti-Israel critic, acknowledges (reluctantly) that the Jewish state has something to teach the nascent Palestinian polity.
Economic benefits. Palestinians who live in Israel (including Jerusalem) appreciate Israel's economic success, social services, and many benefits. Salaries in Israel are about five times higher than in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Israel's social security system has no parallel on the Palestinian side.
These comments point to some Palestinians appreciating the benefits of elections, rule of law, minority rights, freedom of speech, and a higher standard of living. In effect, they acknowledge Israel as more civilized than the PA. Amid all the PA's political extremism and terrorism, it is good to know that a Palestinian constituency also exists for normality.
Unfortunately, it remains a furtive constituency with no political import. The time has come for decent Palestinians to make their voices heard and state that Israel's existence is not the problem but the solution (Daniel Pipes,, May 10, 2005).