In Ra­mal­lah, opin­ion is mixed

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BEN LYN­FIELD RA­MAL­LAH

BAT­TLE FA­TIGUE may be Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas’s best ally as he re­news ne­go­ti­a­tions with Is­rael.

“I sup­port what he is try­ing to do be­cause we need change. We’ve lost ev­ery­thing — fac­to­ries, build­ings, our chil­dren,” said Nis­reen Ab­dul Aal, 32, as she sat with friends in a Ra­mal­lah café.

The Fatah sup­porter, who spent three years in an Is­raeli prison for at­tack­ing a sol­dier as a teenager, said: “We fought so we could live, not so that they die and we die.”

At the next ta­ble a Ha­mas sup­porter, a 21-year-old eco­nomics stu­dent at alQuds Open Univer­sity who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied, of­fered a very dif­fer­ent as­sess­ment. “We have tried ne­go­ti­a­tions more than once but they did not ben­e­fit us at all. We lost more land while the set­tle­ments were ex­panded and the oc­cu­pa­tion in­ten­si­fied.”

The only way for­ward, he said, “is through re­sis­tance like Hizbol­lah car­ried out in Le­banon”.

Mahdi Nas­sar, a Ra­mal­lah driver, will not be­lieve in the ne­go­ti­a­tions un­til he is no longer de­layed by Is­raeli sol­diers in the West Bank. “Peo­ple are not just tired of the sit­u­a­tion, they are dead. I hope [Ab­bas] will suc­ceed, but he’s un­der Amer­i­can and Is­raeli pres­sure.”

Ghas­san Amayra, di­rec­tor of Young En­trepreneurs Pales­tine, which pro­mote small busi­nesses, added: “I sup­port re­new­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, but I’m not sure it will work. Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans can ne­go­ti­ate for­ever but with­out a strong Amer­i­can role the Is­raelis will not freeze the set­tle­ments, will not dis­man­tle the wall built in our ter­ri­tory and will not give us our rights in East Jerusalem.”

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