Hezbollah in Ramalah

Many signs point to Hezbollah’s increasing presence in the Palestinian territories, a sharp departure to Arafat’s model of Palestinian nationalism being the realm of Palestinian groups only.  This is among the most serious (and least addressed) developments over the last few years.

In my work with OneVoice, one of the things I notice often is how much more Israelis and Palestinians agree on than they realize.  When you focus on potential solutions to end the conflict, an overwhelming supra-majority on both sides agrees with the essential compromises for a two-state solution.

But I am also some times struck at the extraordinary disconnects between these two peoples, and opinions about Hezbollah are one prominent example of total divergence.

Virtually every Israeli Jew (and the vast majority of Westerners) consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization dedicated to the expansion of Shiaa rule over the entire Middle East and as such to the destruction of the State of Israel.  Sheikh Nassrallah is seen as a manifestation of pure evil, an absolute enemy.

Virtually every Palestinian AND every Palestinian citizen of Israel (Arab Israelis) consider Hezbollah a noble resistance group that has been a loyal partner to the Palestinian struggle.  More markedly, while many Sunni government leaders have recognized the threat the Hezbollah poses as an extention of Iran’s shiaa revolution, every Palestinian and every Arab I have ever spoken to consider Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Nassrallah, to be a man of his word, a humble, honest servant to his people, in sharp distinction from other corrupt and ineffective Arab leaders.  Every Palestinian you speak to observes how he "always carries out his word."

Whatever you make of him, he has cultivated a personality cult that rivals and towers above probably all other Arab leaders in the Palestinian mindset.  This has a lot to do with the history of support by Hezbollah to Palestinians in the early 80s in Lebanon, but even more so to Al Manar station’s propaganda and Nasrallah’s astute use of media over the last few years.

Over the last few years, admiration among Palestinians towards Hezbollah has only increased, skyrocketing after the Hezbollah-Israel war during the summer of 2006.

This trend accelerated further over the last few weeks, particularly after the recent assassination of Imad Mugniyah in Syria.

In recent weeks, flags of Hezbollah have been appearing across the West Bank.

This is a more sharp development than people may realize, because Arafat had been a staunch advocate of ensuring that the Palestinian cause was never hijacked by anyone other than a Palestinian.  A Hezbollah flag under Arafat’s reign of the West Bank and Gaza would probably have been unheard of, and certainly very rare.

Palestinians complain that lack of progress in peace negotiations is undermining Fatah as a leader and a viable alternative for the Palestinian people, and already wounded by accusations of corruption and disarray, this portends very badly for Fatah.

What will come from all this, and/or how it can be addressed by the majorities on both sides who just want this conflict to end once and for all, I do not know.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

related posts


  1. Etienne Marais said:

    My name is Etienne Marais and I am 18 years
    old. I am a born-again Christian and I will keep
    on praying for peace in Israel. I would like to tell
    the world how much God loves them and I
    will keep on praying for their salvation.

    Kind regards
    Etienne Marais

  2. Etienne Marais said:

    I will never stop praying for peace in Israel.

  3. Panther6170 said:

    Hezbollah is the scum of the earth

post a new comment