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Hamas Vs. Fatah

Young Palestinians basically have two choices: Die for Fatah or die for Hamas. It’s kind of like the extreme political bipolarity in America, except instead of incessant bitching from armchairs, everyone has AK-47s.

by Ameed, Alaa Falah
Oct 2 2007, 12:00am
PHOTOS BY AMEED
INTERVIEWED BY ALAA FALAH

Young Palestinians basically have two choices: Die for Fatah or die for Hamas. It’s kind of like the extreme political bipolarity in America, except instead of incessant bitching from armchairs, everyone has AK-47s, hates Israel, and might kidnap your family just to get a point across. In short, Fatah wants to form a singular Islamic state and attempt to coexist beside Israel, while Hamas is less compromising and wants to revert to the borders that existed prior to the Six-Day War in 1967. However, it often seems like the two parties are more concerned with killing each other in violent street fights than in battling their common enemy. We asked a bunch of Palestinian kids what they thought about the whole bloody mess.

  Ahmed Dwaikat, 21, lives in Beta Village, near Nablus City in the West Bank, has two children, and is a construction worker.

Vice: Fatah or Hamas, which is it for you?

Ahmed:
I’ve belonged to Fatah from the beginning of my life. It’s a feeling in my heart. I started supporting them during the First Intifada.

Do you see your childrens’ future with Fatah?

Yes. When Fatah was the ruling party in the government everything was doing fine. Now that Hamas is in power, when I sent my children to the first day of school there was a strike because the teachers aren’t being paid. It’s important for me that my kids learn that nobody knows what the future might bring.

Have you lost friends in the struggle?

Like many Palestinians, many of my friends have been killed by Israeli troops. They loved their country and were against the occupation.   Hatem Darwish is 18 years old. He’s from Beta Village.

Vice: Which do you support, Fatah or Hamas?

Hatem:
Fatah.

Why did you decide on Fatah?

About two years ago, some friends and I started attending school activities that were organized by Fatah so that’s what I decided to be.

Which does your family support?

They are split. But we live a normal life even if we have different political thoughts. Each one of us supports what he believes is right.

What do you think Fatah provides for people?

The basis of both Fatah and Hamas is the resistance to Israel, but things went wrong and civil conflict has started because of sedition.

Would you die for your country?

Yes, for sure.
     

Mohamad Abo Hamdan is a 15-year-old who lives in Balata Camp. He’s a student who sometimes works as a vendor.

Vice: Hamas or Fatah?

Mohamad:
Without any doubt I am with Hamas.

What makes Hamas your choice?

I live in a refugee camp because the Israeli occupation made us leave our cities and stole our land. Here, Hamas helps us in our daily life and education. They give us schoolbags, food, and everything. Why wouldn’t I support them?

Would you die for your country?

I don’t like death, I love my life, and there’s no need to die for anything but my country.

So that’s a yes.

  Ameed Khudareyeh is 21 years old and lives in Nablus. He is a university student and sells shoes at a market.

Vice: Who do you support, Fatah or Hamas?

Ameed:
Hamas.

What has caused the current political situation?

Everyone caused it. There shouldn’t be any fighting. For peace the occupation has to be gone and we’ll be fine. It’s not important if I support Hamas or not, what matters is to believe in what’s right. We live in a bad situation because of occupation, and once it’s gone there will be no difference if I support Fatah or Hamas. What really matters is that we all should live properly as humans.

And does your family have the same opinion?

Not necessarily. This is personal, you support what you believe in.

Would you die for your country?

I love my life.

We’ll take that as a no.   Samer Salem, 23, is a taxi driver in the al-Ein camp for Palestinian refugees.

Vice: Do you support Fatah or Hamas?

Samer:
I support Hamas, because I believe that Hamas is the one who will give hope and dignity to the Palestinian people. The fighting between Fatah and Hamas is not necessary and no one will benefit from it.

What causes it?

It’s caused by sedition. When Hamas formed the government, the whole world stood against it. They stopped funding us, and that made us hungry.

Would you die for your cause?

How many Palestinians have died for this? Thousands... so, yes.
     

Salma Awad is a 16-year-old living in Nablus City. She is a student.

Vice: Do you support or belong to any movement?

Salma:
I’ve belonged to Fatah for three years.

Why did you choose Fatah?

I think that belonging to Fatah makes me feel secure in life. That’s why I feel that I should belong to this movement, and there are thousands of students just like me. I trust that Fatah will make us equal to the rest of the world and bring peace.

And will you continue with Fatah no matter what?

I guess so. I see that the Palestinian dream will come true with Fatah. We should have hope and never give up.

Would you sacrifice your life for your country?

Of course. A lot of people around the world die for their country. We live in a large prison that the world doesn’t know about. Occupation is unacceptable.