Excerpt from Daniel Pipes:
Palestinians have a hidden history of appreciating Israel that contrasts with their better-known narrative of vilification and irredentism. The former has been particularly evident of late, especially since Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, floated a trial balloon in October about transferring some Arab-dominated areas of eastern Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. As he rhetorically asked about Israeli actions in 1967, "Was it necessary to annex the Shuafat refugee camp, al-Sawahra, Walajeh, and other villages, and then to state that these are part of Jerusalem? One can ask, I admit, some legitimate questions about this."
In one swoop, this statement transformed pro-Israel statements by Palestinians (for a sampling, see my 2005 article, "The Hell of Israel Is Better than the Paradise of Arafat") from the mostly theoretical into the active and political. Indeed, Olmert's musings prompted some belligerent responses. As the title of a Globe and Mail news item puts it, "Some Palestinians prefer life in Israel: In East Jerusalem, residents say they would fight a handover to Abbas regime." The article offers the example of Nabil Gheit, who, with two stints in Israeli prisons and posters of "the martyr Saddam Hussein" over the cash register in his store, would be expected to cheer the prospect of parts of eastern Jerusalem coming under PA control.
Not so. As mukhtar of Ras Khamis, near Shuafat, Gheit dreads the PA and says he and others would fight a handover. "If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority...There would be another intifada to defend ourselves from the PA."
Two polls released last week, from Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications and the Arabic-language newspaper As-Sennara, survey representative samples of adult Israeli Arabs on the issue of joining the PA, and they corroborate what Gheit says. Asked, "Would you prefer to be a citizen of Israel or of a new Palestinian state?" 62 percent want to remain Israeli citizens and 14 percent want to join a future Palestinian state. Asked, "Do you support transferring the Triangle [an Arab-dominated area in northern Israel] to the Palestinian Authority?" 78 percent oppose the idea and 18 percent support it.
Posted by John Ray