Musings of a Palestinian Princess: Settlements In the West Bank

Musings of a Palestinian Princess

I'm just your average princess just under occupation...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Settlements In the West Bank

I can't convince a world filled with hate & bias. Sometimes I am just so sad when some people do not want to acknowledge what happened to and what continues to happen to the Palestinians everyday. I feel like it is so obvious but because we are so desperate for help, the groups that make the most noise wins in attention, whether it be Israeli Public Relations or Palestinian Radical PR.

This post is to just clear up what my blog is about. My blog is simply a diary of what goes on in my life and in my head. Basically, it is a perspective of the situation of someone who lives it day by day. There are a lot of blogs out there that give you the perspective of an activist, a Palestinian organization, or an Israeli, or Israeli organization or a settler but I couldn't find any of just a plain old Palestinian living the life that is in question in a very conservative and assumingly radical part of the West Bank, so we are not talking about a Ramallah girl here we are talking about a Christian girl who lives in a VERY conservative Muslim city.

I always get asked the question if I, as a Christian, relate to the Muslim Palestinians, etc. First off I want to talk a bit about Palestine and how I feel about it. I love Palestine, it is my country and we have 5 generations of recorded history. My ancestors died on this land and I can visit their grave whenever I want, so I am definitely not an immigrant to this land. I am guessing after Jesus times, my ancestors along with many other Jews converted to Christianity. I know the Jews were exiled from the land by the Romans, who were Pagans at the time, in the year, 135 but I dont think Christians were and that doesn't explain the original Jews of this land, the Samaritans. So if someone knows, please clarify. Anyway, the Muslim Arabs conquered the land in 638 and people who were non-Muslims were taxed so many of the poorer Christians and Jews converted to Islam, as legend has it, I am going on hear say here people. Again the same thing in 1516-1917 when the Ottomans ruled, but under ottoman rule, more Jews returned to the land because Ottomans didn't persecute anyone for their religious beliefs, except I think they were still taxed as were the Christians.

So, I feel that this land is the land of many people as is the rest of the world. So, going back to the regular question, I relate to the following people; The Palestinian Muslims, the Palestinian Christians, and the Palestinian Samaritan Jews (which are in my opinion the original Jews or in other words Ancient Judiasm Sect). We have no problems living together, we like each other, we go to each others funerals and weddings, and we have no qualms about living together. The only difference between us is our religions, which we do not rub in each others face, ever, and that only the Samaritans get the rights as an Israeli would because they are Jewish, but it doesn't matter as they consider themselves Palestinians anyway, haha! Btw, my best friend is a Muslim and a good friend of my families is a Samaritan Jew, so go figure for yourselves how we feel about each other. We are neighbours and we are friends.

So anyway, the only thing that I roll my eyes at is the people who have original nationality as French, Russian, American etc. But have Jewish as their religion, coming to this land and building where they please, what they please, and moving about freely.

I mean, really does it make sense? The root problem of all this is racism and its evil counterpart, nationalism. Israeli law claims that any Jew, anywhere in the world, has a right to full Israeli citizenship, while Arabic-speaking Palestinians have no such right even if they were born and have lived all their lives on the territory now comprising Israel. Don't you think this is an inherently racist policy? Please comment.

Honestly, in these days, I think all the people in the camps should get over getting their land back, because IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN and I think instead they should work on bettering themselves, as they are with the aid of a the NGO etc. I think instead of focusing on making a whole country we should focus on making two separate countries, which is going to bust Palestine's economy but we can work on that. That is why settlers need to move there homes to the Israeli part and leave the West Bank and Gaza for the Palestinians to form officially, be free, and live like normal humans would. Guard the Israeli borders all you want just leave the West Bank and Gaza so we no longer feel your control and feel better about being who we are, Palestinians.

Is this so much to ask for? Apparently!


At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 2:10:00 PM, Anonymous SR said...

Ignoring the irony involved in the phrase "original nationality as ... American," do you think that your views would apply to an American Muslim? What about someone who's family was away for 10 years? 100 years? 1000 years?

Israel's policy is NOT racist, nor is it nationalist, as there is no descrimination of any race or nationality. It is 100% religionist (even if that word is not 100% English), and Israel is in the middle of (yet another) identity crises about the idea of a Democratic Jewish state.

As it probably obvious, I'm one of those originally American Israeli Jews who arrogantly tramples Arabs daily, who disagrees with you for (evil) religionist reasons. That said, I found your blog from an Israeli blog, and really do enjoy reading your views.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:01:00 PM, Blogger Palestinian Princess said...

Good comment. Ok, first off let me say what came to my mind straight away. If an immigrant Jew can tell me the name of their relative, where they were born on this land, what they did, and knows where there grave are, I say WELCOME! I have nothing to say to the people that have connections from here, other than God telling them that is is ONLY Jewish land, its all of our land. Now, when we talk about immigration, and the law which allows any Jew from around the world to take Israeli citizenship is the one that is dumbfounding. As the Palestinians who were born here and left the country for different reasons, such as my aunt who was born here and lived here until she married a man in Kuwait and moved there, couldnt even come back for my fathers funeral. We tried everything and this was just last year.

On top of that, I have tons of family in Jordan and none of them are even allowed to visit me let alone have rights to their family property. For example, if I marry an American non-palestinian, if I wanted them to be free so that they can travel to Israel with their American passport etc, I couldn't get them a Palestinian ID and they could only travel with their American father, and when I died they couldnt have the rights to my property because I didnt get them an ID. If I did get them an ID, even though they are half american and hold passport from USA, they can not travel into Israel territory anymore, etc. Well, thats a double edged sword and its not even plausable now, since I am totally and utterly single, lol!!

Now, America really isn't that different then Israel as it was originally the land of the Native Americans, muhahahha... But since has become a melting pot over the years. Israel couldn't even be a melting pot, for the reasons I stated above, if it were a melting pot, there would be more religions than Jewish in the state of Israel, granted there are Arab Israeli's who are both Muslim and Christian, OH, and actually I met, a Russian Christian soldier at the checkpoint once!

So much to talk about, so much. Anyway, I'm glad you found your way over to this blog, and trust me I learn so much from the people I am meetng through this blo. And your comment:

"I'm one of those originally American Israeli Jews who arrogantly tramples Arabs daily, who disagrees with you for (evil) religionist reasons.

I love it, it cracked me up. Well, I'm glad you are reading my blog, and I like to learn how everyone feels, as I am confined to a 5km circumference! The internet is such a big world, and it helps me to talk to you, an American Settler, where as if I saw you on the street at some checkpoint area, we wouldn't be able to talk because one of us would be shot and killed by some fanatic for speaking and laughing with the enemy...

And, there are too many Israeli & Palestinian friendships for those who think WE all completely hate eachother. We don't hate eachother we just don't completely agree with eachother, yes, there is a difference!

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:27:00 PM, Anonymous sr said...

PP (not to be confused with the Israeli Purple Parrot),
You are 100% correct, and, despite the obvious frustrations that you deal with, seeming much more pleasant than many on the Israeli left with whom I interact daily (for the reasons you mention above, and other, I have very little contact with Arabs (of any religion) in my day to day life.). There is no question that the notion of a Jewish state (which I am a supporter of) is out of place in the modern, western, liberal democratic world in which we live (by world, I mean earth, not necessarily the middle east). However, I'd pose a few questions:

1. Are there any Arab nations that come close to Israel in granting the "enemy" (i.e., Jews in the Arab nations, Arabs in the Jewish one) the right that they do? (Obviously, this question is meaningless, as wrong is wrong and right is right regardless of whatever anyone else is doing, but it's intended to provide some perspective)

2. If you were to be an Israeli Arab (I'm assuming you do not have Israeli citizenship), would your life officially be as difficult (I know all about unofficial discrimination). Do you think it's reasonable for Israel to grant full rights (and I'm not discounting universal basic human rights) to those who do not want to participate in a country? (Again, I'm not saying that any Arab is eligable for citizenship - I'm asking if those who choose not to pursue it deserve the same treatment).

3. Would you be willing to let Jews live in (say) Hebron, on land that they've purchased from current landowners (so we ignore the whole "I had it in 1500! Well, I had it in 1600! You left in 1743! I bought it in 1927! Then you left! Because of the 1929 massacre! Yeah, well, I was thrown out in 67! etc. etc. etc". If so, do you think that your fellow nationalists feel the same way? Obviously Israel is far from perfect in this respect, but do you recongnize that attempts are made to be "fair"?

Just on a biographical note -- I'm only a settler in the Hamas "from the river to the sea blah blah blah" sense. I live within the geographical area known as the "within the green line", which is to say the pre-67 borders. Philosophically, I would live in a "settlement" (and most likely, probably will in the future), but financial and personal reasons have me living where I do. That said, I'd like to think of myself as the kind of person who would not throw someone off their land so I could have it. However, I do think that Jews (and Israelis) are the rightful owners of the land, which is to say that we should be able to build anywhere unoccupied and/or buy land legally. Regarding Arab construction, I think that a modern democratic state owes all residents and citizens the right to build -- although in a case of a conflict, ceteris parabus, Jews should have "first claim". However, a historically prior claim by an individual Arab should triumph over a Jew's "birthright". I cannot defend this position, nor would I ask you to accept it.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 5:01:00 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

PP (not to be confused with TAFKATPP):

Why do the Jews have to leave the settlements for your solution to work? Israel has many Arab Israeli citizens, who enjoy full civil rights and full representation in the Knesset.

Why can an Arab walk in Israel without fear, yet a Jew has to fear for their life if going into a Palestinian city?

What could be more rascist than saying Jews can't live in their Biblical homeland -- they can live anywhere on the planet but in the place they feel most connected to religiously?

The internet is such a big world, and it helps me to talk to you, an American Settler, where as if I saw you on the street at some checkpoint area, we wouldn't be able to talk because one of us would be shot and killed by some fanatic for speaking and laughing with the enemy... An Israeli teenager tried just that a few years ago, and when he ended up meeting his Palestinian friend from the internet, he was brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

Its not an issue of nieve mistrust...there's alot grounded in hard, sad facts.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 5:29:00 PM, Blogger Palestinian Princess said...

You guys bring up excellent points. And it is so much to think about at once, the conflict is like looking at a prism and trying to pick out each and every color until you twist it another way and see that the colors have changed place and you can't just catch one color at one time.

Oh my god, honestly, I don't know what to say. But can't we all just get along. I have stated before that I do not blame all of the problems of the Palestinians on Israel and I never will, thats just self distructive, but I do think that a lot has to be said to keep the Palestinians oppressed so that they feel the pressure and they are kept "stupid" and encourage gangs within the community.

Hell, Jameel said that Arabs can walk freely around Israeli cities without fearing for their lives but when Jews enter Palestinian city they are scared. Well, I have a story for you!!!

Last year, in March my father died in a hospital in Tel Aviv, I was there everyday at the hospital for a month, and ofcourse we speak arabic and nonetheless look like an arab. When you live here, its like you have a Jewdar or Arabdar, you know who is who, lol... Anyway, back to my story, one day I was in the corridor speaking with my brother and this man ran towards us and spit and ran away, we were like WTF? And I am not trying to stereotype but he was more of the radical types from his looks, but in general that was the only problem I had.

That doesn't compare to speaking with a Palestinian and being killed for it as in the case of the poor Israeli boy, thats just horrific, but I can see it happening, I mean, I don't know why people are just so stupid, I am so sick of hearing stories like this.

But I have noticed the most radical of them come from the Camps. In my city, you can not get away from seeing the camps and camp people. They are very bitter and like wise they are radicals. It may be easy for me to judge as I have never had to flee my home because it was distructed or had a village massacre, so I can see there hate. But these radicals from the camps are filled with anger from the time they are born, they are born is horried conditions and very poor, I will try to get some pictures of Balata soon for you all. Anyway, they are fed this hatred since they are young, and they are now romanticizing what once was or could have been if they were not forced to leave their homes. Now they are poor and hopeless and when someone feels this way, nothing is too radical for them. Instead they live with the vengenace of revenge.

And worse, if they are ALSO a family who has lost a loved one or a person who is majorly humiliated and beaten by a soldier, then uh oh, watch out. Its a psychological thing.

So much to write about and I have probably gone off track, so I will let you all respond before I babble about again.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:31:00 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

PP: While spitting at someone is unacceptable, you really can't compare that to me walking into Balata. You know I'd be lynched in under a minute. No Comparison.

Why can't we all just get along? Heck, that would be great, but I don't see it happening so quickly.

Do you know that in the 1970's, Israel tried to build real housing alternatives to get the pre67 Arabs out of the camps and squalor -- from a humanitarian standpoint? Guess what happened? Israel was CONDEMNED by the UN for trying to solve the problem...and it was the Arab Leaguge that pushed for the condemnation!

Which means - as paradoxical as it sounds: Israel is willing to bend over backwards to provide solutions, while the Arab countries would rather use the Palestinians as political pawns in the battle against the Zionists.

Where is all the Oil money to improve the Palestinian economy? Why would your average Israeli give more to help solve the problems, yet there's close to zero pan-Arab cooperation (except for the destruction of Israel)?

Lastly (for now) you wrote - if they are ALSO a family who has lost a loved one or a person who is majorly humiliated and beaten by a soldier, then uh oh, watch out. Its a psychological thing.

Excuse me?! Yes, I've had loved ones die and get mained by terror attacks. Does that mean I find a bomb and blow myself up inside the nearest Arab village I can find? A psycholigical thing? Sorry. That's totally and completely unacceptable. Period.

Even attempting to excuse that sort of behavior weakens your arguments to next to meaningless.

If you saw, "Why can't we all just get along" -- there needs to be a common HUMAN denominator.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - Tripped over your blog, and am appreciating your honest approach to things. As a student of international finance I have been bothered by a question, maybe you or your friends can provide a "true" answer as opposed to what the media writes.

During the past 13 years over 19 billion dollars was poured into your area. Aside from that, there are many Arab nations such as Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, UAE etc. that are not poor - in fact they individually and collectively have a tremendous amount of wealth. The question is - where did the money go, and why aren't there regular campaigns and contributions of money to your society? The tens of millions of Arabs in these countries by far have more money than the few million Jews of America and Europe, yet those Jews are consistently sending charity to Israel.

If you wish to dispute that so many billions were already sent in such a short time then please first check some sources. I have seen pictures of stunningly beautiful and palatial homes in Ramallah, with sunken floors, million-dollar paintings and 20-foot ceilings. These are homes of government officials and high-powered people.
Anyway, if you can give your thoughts as to why your people are being left to live in poverty by the mighty wealth of your Arab neighbors, and even by the billions of your own officials, it would be appreciated.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 8:13:00 PM, Blogger Charlie said...

Hi - Tripped over your blog, and am appreciating your honest approach to things. As a student of international finance I have been bothered by a question, maybe you or your friends can provide a "true" answer as opposed to what the media writes.

And nothing but silence?????
but a good question.

At Saturday, February 04, 2006 3:39:00 AM, Blogger click here said...

Calmez-vous, charlie, give her a chance! ;)

Anyway - "Hi" from Ireland, PP. I don't want to disrupt the flow of conversation here too much, but I have to say I really enjoy reading your blog!

It gives a very interesting insight into day-to-day life in your area (albeit from just one person's own perspective), which we wouldn't be made very aware of over here (as you say, it's just press releases from government or radicals we seem to get, really!).

Cheers! :)

(P.S. - Make sure Hamas don't ever send a delegation to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day - I think green Guinness might just freak them out!!)

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