Maaroof is a Palestinian factory worker living in Shiekh Danoun, a village near Nahariya, Israel. He shared with us his perspective on Israel’s West Bank annexation plans.
“Actually, we don’t know what the Israelis want, but from my observations, they want to weaken the Arab Government. Palestinians makeup around 2 million citizens in Israel and occupied territories, meaning we are powerful. The locations that they want to annex is where 20% of these 2 million Palestinians live. That means we would be less powerful and threatening to the Israelis. There is a high rate of violence amongst Palestinians in these areas, so annexation would lower Israeli resident’s exposure to violence. In addition, the areas that they want to take is a strategic location since Palestinians use this land for agriculture. The Palestinian side disagrees with annexation and is united against Israel. Arabs have learned lessons from the past and therefore they will not easily waive their rights away.”
“It is a complicated question because Netanyahu is politically smart. I do not think that the annexation decision will be implemented. Netanyahu is doing the impossible so that he will not be imprisoned. One of his ways of escaping prison is through this annexation decision. I think it is a re-election campaign for Netanyahu and to have the charges against him dropped.”
“If he can or cannot do it doesn't really matter because no one ever tells him no. I don’t know why, but the Israelis do anything they want, despite if it is allowed or not. I don’t know if he will go through the annexation plans or if he is just trying to make some noise.”
“The atmosphere is distraught, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) has relaxed tensions and eased violence, but that does not mean that the violence has stopped. There has been a focus on the coronavirus because we have been greatly affected by the second wave of COVID-19. For now, both sides have not discussed the annexation plans because of COVID-19. To understand the atmosphere here, you must understand that Arabs in Israel are divided into three parts: the North (where I live), the Center, and the South. It is difficult to explain exactly how life is in different areas, but you need to understand that each of these three parts does not like the lifestyle for Palestinians living in the other areas.”
Photo Credit: @hasanofamman