"I'm not a supporter of Hamas, but if someone comes to your house and kills your brother or your mother in front of your eyes..."

The war also affected Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Anyone who wants to discuss the causes of this war with them quickly faces a counter question

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Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate
Detail from Bethlehem, Photo: Reuters
Detail from Bethlehem, Photo: Reuters

The Israeli government is unclear about the future of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Nothing is better in the occupied West Bank. There, Palestinians are disillusioned with their leadership.

Ibrahim sorts cashmere wool scarves and camel leather bags. The shelves in his shop in Bethlehem's old town are full. Only - buyers are not coming.

The war also affected Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Anyone who wants to discuss the causes of this war with them quickly faces a counter question.

"Look, I'm not a supporter of Hamas or anything like that. I don't like politics. I'm an ordinary man," Ibrahim says. "But if someone comes to your house and kills your brother or your mother in front of your eyes, are you going to you stay calm and do nothing? No, your film will blow and you will fight."

The unpopular Abbas

Ibrahim says the fighting must stop. That peace must be discussed. But he does not know who should speak for the Palestinians. He just knows it shouldn't be Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"He talks a lot and does nothing," says Ibrahim.

People would need someone who knows how to negotiate well now. The governments of the world should stand behind the Palestinians, he says. "But everyone supports Israel."

The Palestinian Authority, headed by 88-year-old Abbas, is seen by many here as too weak, too pro-Israel and too corrupt. The last elections in the West Bank were held almost 18 years ago.

Prisoners and martyrs

In the Daisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, live Palestinians and their descendants who were expelled during the establishment of the state of Israel. The Israeli army regularly invades there and conducts raids against radical residents.

When Israel released Palestinians from prison in exchange for the release of hostages from the Gaza Strip, it was also celebrated in Bethlehem with shouts from Hamas.

In a small restaurant in Daisheh, a young man is standing behind the bar. Prepares salad, cuts onions and grates cheese. And his name is Ibrahim. "Certainly, this problem with prisoners is very important. After all, they are - how can I say - they are our intellectuals. They are pure and honorable. Prisoners plan the fate of our freedom. Some prisoners have martyrs in their families, and they themselves are prisoners. They sacrifice themselves, they do something good for our country."

The 22-year-old wants to see the world. But he only knows about what's going on outside the West Bank from stories. Tourists see more in this region in two days than he saw in 22 years, says Ibrahim.

"We are one front"

Young Palestinians yearn for a better perspective. And for the politicians who will be able to provide it to them. Abbas with his Fatah party is not one of them, says Ibrahim.

He mentions Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sadat. Both of them are in Israeli prisons, because they allegedly participated in attacks on Israel. Just like in the old city of Bethlehem, no one can be heard distancing themselves from Hamas in the Daisheh refugee camp either.

"Hamas has an important military role in the resistance, Marwan has both a political and military role. And so does Ahmad Sadat. Our harmony is our strength," says Ibrahim.

"We have to be united. And in Gaza. We are one front. We are connected, we in the West Bank and those in Gaza," says the young man.

Of course, he adds, there are many political problems, especially with the parties, but the Palestinians want freedom - and one state, without problems and without a political legacy.

There is no trust in the Palestinian self-government

In conversations with Palestinians, it quickly becomes clear that they no longer expect much from politicians. Especially not from the Palestinian Authority - although it is internationally considered the only legitimate interlocutor, the people who live there hardly support it at all. These are not good preconditions for discussions about the time after the war in the Gaza Strip.

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