Certain adages are so palpably and undeniably true that they command universal assent: “By the fruit you know the tree.” “Actions speak louder than words.” A case in point:
When Ahmed Jabarin was 12, his family’s ancestral farm and grazing lands were absorbed into the young State of Israel. For more than five decades, Jabarin and tens of thousands of other ethnic Arabs in Umm al-Fahm and nearby towns have lived an uncomfortable dichotomy: citizens of Israel, but brothers, sisters and sympathizers of the Palestinians whom Israel fights.
As Israel built its West Bank security fence here about a year ago, it planned a route to separate Jabarin’s family from Israel, leaving them and their land to the prospect of future rule by a Palestinian state.
Jabarin said no.
“We fought them to be inside of the fence, and they moved it so we are still in Israel,” he explained, pointing out a line of razor wire at the southern edge of his pastures, where the fence runs. “We have many links to Israel,” said Jabarin, now 67. “What have we to do with the Palestinian Authority?”
In a reversal of norms for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel recently has contemplated giving up slices of Arab-populated land, while the Palestinian Arabs living on them have demanded to stay under Israeli governance.
A poll of Arabs in towns near here last month found that 90 percent preferred to remain in Israel, and 73 percent said they would violently resist being forced out. The Arab Center for Applied Social Research, based in Haifa, said 43 percent of those polled preferred to remain Israeli because Israel is their homeland and 33 percent because of the country’s higher standard of living.
Amid the Arab opposition, Sharon announced he will not force Arab towns out of Israel.
Thanks to reader Erik Root, who linked this article on his own site, Cali-Carolina