Palestinian Authority Bears Brunt Of West Bank Outrage

Political strife and unrest are powerful backdrops in the work of Palestinian writer Adania Shibli. She talks to Steve Inskeep about the mood in Ramallah.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're hearing many perspectives on this conflict and we next meet a Palestinian writer Adania Shibli. She lives on the West Bank, where she teaches in the city of Ramallah. From there she watched Israel's search for suspected members of Hamas in recent weeks. She has also followed news of Hamas rocket strikes on Israel and Israel strikes into Gaza. She told us Palestinians frustration is turning on their own leaders.

ADANIA SHIBLI: The anger is actually bending and when people talk about a possible Intifada as probably against the Palestinian National Authority because it has been part of the negotiation process that resulted with not only nothing but the opposite of what they were expecting. Their settlements are expanding, more lands are being confiscated, there are more restrictions and movement of people and people are getting killed on a daily basis.

INSKEEP: So, you're saying if there were another Intifada, another uprising on the West Bank, one possible way that could go would be against the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas?

SHIBLI: Definitely. This is what you hear, this is what the students are saying. On the other hand you have also depression in the sense of being lost because if this is a political leadership, you also thinking what are the alternatives, are there any other leadership available and there isn't.

INSKEEP: What do people think about the other large Palestinian party Hamas, which is the group that is engaged in the conflict with Israel and was blamed by Israel for the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens some weeks ago and other things?

SHIBLI: People see Hamas as the only party that is not accepting to live under occupation. You don't see the Israeli Army inside Ramallah but it is around Ramallah, so people cannot move freely. And you have the check point still there, building the wall, confiscating land to build settlements and then they see, OK, they cannot resist that or their political leadership is not managing to resist that. While Hamas is saying, Ok we don't accept this policy.

INSKEEP: Are you saying and of course we're not thing about a scientific poll, just the people that you talk with, friends, family, students and so forth. People are not saying that Hamas is responsible for bringing down all this Israeli force on them?

SHIBLI: (Unintelligible) the occupation was there before Hamas, so Hamas is an outcome of occupation. Of course, I mean they're also saying here that what the Israeli government is doing - it's not because of kidnapping these three teenager settlers but because they want the unit government to fail.

INSKEEP: Oh, the government that includes both Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas's party, and Hamas.

SHIBLI: Yes. Because that was a moment of hope that maybe things can get to a better future.

INSKEEP: I want to step back a little bit if I can from the immediate news of the last few weeks because you're a university teacher in Ramallah and I'm curious if you have a sense of how the young people you teach have been seeing their futures.

SHIBLI: They don't see a proper future, it's very bleak. They no longer speak about building something within the community or trying to lead the society, the Palestinian society, to a better future. This is what I hear from the students, they wouldn't even want to share in a dream to see things differently because they say, why should we bother to dream.

INSKEEP: What's it like to be a writer in the circumstances that you're in?

SHIBLI: It's hard actually. Sometimes I feel what am I doing is right or wrong because maybe I should engage more in reality. My role is to reflect on that longer effect of what we are undergoing not informing on what's happening.

INSKEEP: Your goal is to think long-term.

SHIBLI: Long-term and to see the nuances of what's happening. I'm not interesting in the daily news because we know the damage that they affect on the person level, on interrelations, even on love relations. People cannot love any longer because you don't trust. Your instinct is directed towards surviving by any means because you don't see anyone as protecting you, so you need to be selfish in order to survive, which is terrible and this is really what is saddening me as a person because I have also the possibility to leave Palestine and I see many people who are stuck here. If you don't have a space to live and to breathe a little bit, you will eventually be like this - be selfish and cannot see anything except, you know, it's like drowning and you just want to save yourself.

INSKEEP: Adania Shibli, thank you very much.

SHIBLI: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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