Difference in opinion between Gazans & WestBank Palestinians
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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 53

Language is a powerful tool.

Sociolinguistics Series: Part 53
Irene Yi

Hello, hello! I'm sure y'all are just as excited as I am to learn about the West Bank Palestinian opinion of Hamas and Gaza Palestinians. Well, here we go.

Dr. Shikaki found that the older the age, the more religious a Palestinian tended to be. This meant that they were usually more supportive of Hamas (remember, Hamas' values lined up more with Islamists' values--the religious ones). At one time, there was even a majority of young people (18 to 22 years old) who supported Hamas. Now, the people who fall into the age range of "young people" tend to be more secular and less supportive of Hamas.

More on the young people today: these people tend to not be in the job market yet and are the most "leaderless," meaning they are the most openly critical about the Palestinian Authority's corruption.

Out of all the people who support a one-state solution (in which Jews and Arabs would get equal rights--which is different from a Jew's perspective of what a one-state solution would look like), the 18 to 22 year olds make up the largest portion of supporters, age range-wise (meaning this: if we had a histogram of every age group polled, there would be the most supporters in the young people category).

The difference in opinion between Gazans and West Bank Palestinians depends on religiousness and socioeconomic status. For the most part, Gazans tend to be more religious--more Islamist, more supportive of Hamas, and less supportive of a two-state solution.

The per capita income in Gaza is much less than that of the West Bank (about 1000 American dollars in Gaza and 2000 American dollars in the West Bank). What's affected by the per capita income and socioeconomic status? For starters, the view on gender equality and education equality is different. There is more support for gender equality and education in the West Bank than in Gaza.

Dr. Shikaki then polled about the acceptance and use for violence, which is the view that "one must inflict pain in order to end Israeli occupation." Just a side note, remember the rhetoric behind the phrase "Israeli occupation."

For a seven year period after the Oslo Accords, the support for the use of violence was small; in the 1990s, about 80% of Palestinians opposed the use for violence. However, the second intifada happened from 2000 to 2004, and there was an increase in the support for the use of violence.

At this time, there was no overlap between support for violence and support for diplomacy--meaning those concepts were mutually exclusive to people. You could either support violence as a way to end the conflict, or you could support diplomacy as a way to end the conflict. By 2005, though, after a few things settled down a bit, the overlap between violence and diplomacy resurfaced. You could support both violent and diplomatic methods in order to achieve peace.

From about 2005 to 2015, there was a decrease in the support of violence all across the board. Today, the view changes depending on whether or not the region is quiet. When there is violence already happening, the support for violence goes up. When it is relatively quiet, the support for violence decreases.

According to Dr. Shikaki, Islamists and people who do not think that diplomacy will be a feasible way to end the occupation are more likely to support violence. Two-state supporters want a mutual recognition of identity.

Everyone wants a unilateral withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank, and many want the settlements to be dismantled as well. For East Jerusalem, the overwhelming majorities of Palestinians will not consider any peace negotiation to be an "end to the conflict" unless East Jerusalem is recognized as Palestine's capital.

When I was in the Arab Bazaar talking to the Palestinian man and the Druze man, I asked them about their feelings on Gaza. The man from the West Bank, Muhsin, said that he feels empathetic toward his fellow Palestinians living in Gaza because they have a much lower standard of living than West Bank Palestinians.

He says that they often do not have water or electricity because they have already damaged their aquifer. However, Muhsin believes that many West Bank Palestinians ultimately feel a sense of helplessness for their brothers in Gaza because there is often little or no help they can offer to Gazans.

The last topic I want to cover from Dr. Shikaki's talk is that of Jordan and Egypt, the region's Arab neighbors. In many of the wars, Jordan and Egypt have helped out on behalf of Palestine, and Jordan used to control the West Bank while Egypt controlled Gaza.

Today, Palestinians rely greatly on these neighbors still. Palestinians rely on Jordan for economic support, travel (many Palestinians who need to fly out of the area actually go into Amman, Jordan and fly from that airport rather than cross the West Bank wall into Jerusalem and/or make the trek out to Tel Aviv because it is much faster for them to go to Jordan than to cross security checkpoints), and social connections.

As for Egypt, Palestinians would like for Egypt and Gazas to have friendlier relations (as Gaza borders Egypt), but Egypt has had a siege over Gaza since the second intifada. After Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, Egypt has not been supplying much help to Gazans and there are actually tight borders between the two regions.

Palestinians have an increasingly critical view of the rest of the Arab world's apathy to their plight. They believe that many neighboring Arab countries are growing tired of the Palestinian issue (for example, the refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria are not being assimilated into those host countries even after 70 years) and want to move on.

Pessimistic Palestinians believe that the Arab world is more concerned with the issue of Iran (and the rift between Shia and Sunni Muslims) and that Arab countries might even see Israel as an ally in their "fight" against Iran. To keep Israel on their side, Arab countries might push Palestine under the rug for now.

Sorry, that was a pretty heavy section--but we are dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. The next stop we make is to a winery in an Israeli settlement, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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