Els van Diggele
We Hate Each Other More than the Jews
Discord within Palestinian Society
A disillusioning portrait of the fratricidal struggle between Palestinians
It’s a question asked around the world: after decades of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, why do we seem further than ever from a resolution? Historian Els van Diggele reaches an unsparing conclusion: a main reason for the failure to achieve a Palestinian state is dissension among Palestinians. We Hate Each Other More than the Jews exposes the internal conflicts and corruption within Palestinian society.
Much more than a historical study, We Hate Each Other More than the Jews offers first-rate investigative journalism and a colourful, intimate look at life in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Van Diggele spent a year living in the heart of Ramallah, interviewing dissident intellectuals about politics, history and their lives. She learned of their dissatisfaction with their own regime (‘Our leaders are traitors’), their clashes with Palestinian institutions and their experiences with social exclusion and, in some cases, even imprisonment by the Palestinian Authority. Her even-handed perspective on the region is a breath of fresh air: without denying or rationalizing Israel’s disastrous role, she uncovers the violent realities of Palestinian life. As one Gazan puts it, ‘This stench, the chaos and lawlessness, the murders and age-old family feuds… what does any of this have to do with the occupation?’
Clear and engaging expositions of the historical background alternate with lively first-person stories and interviews that shed light on the personal consequences of a mutually destructive strife. The book spans a century of Palestinian history, including the nationalism of the 1920s, the birth of the Jewish state, the conflicts between Palestinians and their Arab allies that made it possible for Israel to survive and the rise of the PLO in the 1960s. The dissidents she interviews reveal the complicity of the Palestinian news media in hiding internal power struggles, and they have the courage to reflect openly on their culture and its flaws. Most of all, the book lays out the causes and consequences of the corruption and repression that characterize Palestinian society today.
Apart from a thorough bibliography and notes, the book includes a timeline, a glossary clarifying historical and political terms, and capsule biographies of major historical figures.