|Jerusalem: The Mamilla shopping mall|
Everyone living in this city knows first-hand the tensions and risks of living in an open city in which a large proportion of the people around us on the streets and highways and on the buses and trams belong to a population that, to a considerable extent, considers us Israelis as their enemies.
The nature of the internal communal tensions among the Arab residents of Jerusalem and its surrounding villages makes for some interesting analysis. A study published this week says a third of the Arabs living today in Jerusalem and the surrounding area "would rather hold Israeli citizenship than live in a new Palestinian state". This is based on a poll of a thousand Arabs carried out by David Pollock, who supervised US government studies of public opinion in the Middle East. Other points made in the survey:
- Asked to make a choice between living under Israeli jurisdiction or under Palestinian jurisdiction in a new Palestinian state, 35 per cent said they would prefer to live under Israeli law.
- 40 per cent ("at least") of those polled are ready to move to a different Jerusalem neighbourhood just in order to remain under Israeli rule.
- Living under Israeli jurisdiction is identified as the key to maintaining the levels of healthcare, education and economic standards they currently enjoy.
- But there is a significant minority - one-third - of Jerusalem-area Arabs who say they feel "discriminated against" by the Israeli government.
- And this: "Even if a peace settlement could be agreed, 41 per cent said violent resistance would continue".
Yet whenever they are asked, the Arabs inside Israel and beyond its borders - substantial numbers of them - assert again and again that peace, whatever that means to them, will change nothing. What's really happening here, in their own terms, is a process of "violent resistance". And that violence, along with resistance to living in a state defined as Israeli or Jewish, is permanent.