Love Among the Ruinous Arabs

Do you, like me, wonder how the Arabs who call themselves Palestinian are doing?

No? Me neither, to be honest.

But duty calls. Let’s check in:

Fatah, Hamas officials trade accusations in heated debate

The rival Hamas and Fatah officials disagreed on the success of reconciliation efforts, with al-Ahmad claiming that reconciliation had come “very close” and Dweik stating that “no tangible breakthrough” had been made.

Both officials tried to undermine the achievements of their rival faction, with Dweik claiming Fatah had begun as as armed resistance faction but was now coordinating on security with Israel.

The Hamas official lauded the resistance achievements of the Islamist group, noting the group’s ability to launch rockets at Tel Aviv in fighting last November.

At that point Hamas officials withdrew from the meeting.

In the aftermath, Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said that “Dweik has offended the Palestinian people, their history, their martyrs and their security services while trying to justify the coup and the killings in the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Marwan Abu Ras called for Fatah to replace al-Ahmad as their PLC speaker, claiming that the official was trying to deepen the state of disagreement between factions and maintain internal rivalries.

“His positions are harmful for Palestinian society and rather in line with the Zionist and American plots against resistance and against freedoms in the West Bank,” he added.

For those of you new to the conflict, Hamass are the pious Jew-haters and Fatah are the venal Jew-haters. You’d think they’d focus on what unites them—their blood lust for Jewish lives—but life is funny that way.

Anyway, enough hate—how about love?

This week, the story of a 16-year-old from Nazareth shocked the country. The teenage girl was attacked by a 51-year-old neighbor who poured acid on her face. The assailant, himself a married father of five, had allegedly demanded to take her as a second wife.

The girl is still hospitalized in serious condition and it remains unclear whether she will regain use of her vision.

However, Saturday saw her family preparing for her engagement party to another man. The story pushed back into the spotlight the issue of teen marriage and the plight of young girls forced to marry so young.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, some 3000 Arab girls under the age of 18 get married every year. More than one third (37%) marry by the age of 19.

One thousand of those marry under the age of 17 and 82% of all under-17 marriages in Israel happen in the Arab sector. These numbers have fluctuated only slightly over the last couple of years.

These would be Arab Israelis, but then my point all along is that there is no such thing as a Palestinian identity. Palestinian meant Jewish until the Jews moved in, at which time the Arabs of the region invented (or subverted) the term as an ethnic identity.

But Arab is Arab—as the Arabs themselves tell us.

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