In Ramallah, opinion is mixed
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.”