Murad Shtewi is a leader in the Fatah movement in the Qalqilya district of the West Bank. He is the director of The Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission of the Northern West Bank. He is also the coordinator of non-violent resistance marches in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum, where he was born in 1973.
I believe in a two-state solution. This is a solution which is accepted and spoken about in the international agreements. The Israelis will live in Israel, and the Palestinians will live in Palestine, without settlements and with open borders between Palestine and Jordan.
Palestine must be on 22% of the whole area of Palestine and that 22% must be the area occupied after 1967. I don’t believe in land swaps. I am not a decision maker, but if you talk about international agreements, I look at Palestine and think that Palestine must be on these lands without land swaps.
If leaders accepted limited exchange of land that does not affect the Palestinian state’s contiguity, and results in the same amount of space, it would be OK. But the fair solution for us is all lands which were occupied in 1967.
There will be no peace, no solution, and no Palestinian state without removing the settlements. If you want to talk about real peace and a real solution, it must be a complete solution with a Palestinian state consisting of all the territories in the West Bank that were occupied in 1967 without any kind of occupation—without any buildings or settlements, including the three major settlement blocs. Maybe the political men will have another point of view, but as a Palestinian and as a field man, I think all the settlements are a cancer in the West Bank land occupied since 1967.
Palestinians don’t deny the rights of anyone to live in peace in their land. For example, we have Israeli friends that come in solidarity to our demonstrations. We don’t have any problems with them. They can live in the Israeli state that is accepted by international law, but one will not accept a solution that will give the settlers a right to live in a Palestinian state. They should go and live in happiness and in peace in Israel. Even if they were willing to live in peace here, I think it is better for them to live in Israel because they do not possess any right to have even one centimeter of our land after 1967. I think it is illogical to think about them remaining and becoming Palestinian citizens. It is just better for them to have Israeli citizenship and to live in Israel.
In a Palestinian state all are welcome, but will Israel allow the man who lives in the Balata camp now and was transferred from his own home and land to come back?
In our country and in Palestine we have peaceful protests. Maybe the Palestinians carried guns in the past, but in this period, we believe that we can’t defeat Israel as one of the strongest powers in the Middle East and one of the strongest powers in the world. Since we can’t defeat it, especially after 2003 (end of the second intifada), we decided to peacefully protest and begin a non-violent struggle against the occupation. We will continue with this protest until the occupation is over. The bleeding must stop. The Palestinians must have their own happy and peaceful life in their state. Also, the Israelis must have their own happy and peaceful life in their own state because I think that the innocent people in Israel shouldn’t pay the price for the crazy army who practices violence against the peaceful protests and against the Palestinians in general. The Palestinians must take care and focus their struggle against the occupation, against the army, and against the settlers. This means we don’t believe in violence from either side.
I don’t think the West Bank would “turn into Gaza” in terms of rockets. Since we paid such a heavy price during the years of occupation, I think it is the time for Palestinians to live in peace without practicing any kind of struggle—only to build their state and to live in peace and to ensure peace for their families and their children. I think this is different than in Gaza because we are looking only for a peaceful life here in the West Bank.
The thing that the world calls violence, we consider to be struggle. Before 1967 we were fighting the English occupation for our land. Then we continued our struggle against Israeli occupation. We are people asking only for peace in the land of peace. It only became land of war when occupation came. If occupation ended, I think everything would be OK—peace and happiness for everyone in their own lands.
There are many stories about the violence of settlers. In Duma, the Dawabsha family was burned by the terrorism of settlers. Mohammed Abu Khdeir was killed and burned in Al Quds. Also, the settlers are always stealing land.
Jerusalem is one of the things that the Palestinians will not ignore. Jerusalem is a city that was occupied in 1967. Any solution will not be complete without East Jerusalem. Palestinians consider Jerusalem the historical capital of Palestine, and it will be the capital of the future Palestinian state, which we hope will be built on 1967 lines. The Old city must also be part of this and not be an international city nor belong to Israel.
Jews should not be able to pray on Haram al-Sharif because it is a historical Islamic place that belongs to the Muslims. Palestine is the land of messages and prophets. Without talking about the historical connection, all religions have the right to holy places, but in a Palestinian state. In any case, when we have a state on all of our land I think these issues will be solved.
To end fighting with Israel we have three requirements.
- East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.
- A Palestinian state exists in the territories occupied in 1967 with free borders and authority of these borders under Palestinian control.
- Fair solution is proposed for the refugees. For this third requirement, we must go to the refugees and tell them that if they want to go to their homes, which were occupied in 1948, they have the right to do so. If they want something else, like compensation, they can have it. No one can ignore this right of the refugees to be back in their country and their homes. With regard to Jews who were kicked out from their own homes in other Arab countries, it is their own business and they can find arrangements with these Arab countries.
Palestine is the holy land and all the people have the right to live in happiness and in peace. Talking about the people who lived before is very sensitive and complicated. I think you will hear another point of view when you talk to Israelis, but here in Palestine, the point of view is that this is the land of the Arabs and the Palestinians, and history also mentions this. According to history, the land of Canaan was in Palestine first.
Zionism equals two words: apartheid movement.
I see the need for an Israeli state, but one where all citizens have the same rights. The persecution of Jews is not our fault. On the other side, we need a Palestinian state.
I think the struggle by Palestinians alone is not enough. They have a duty for peaceful protest but I think that is not enough. We need internationals to help us; for example, the people who work with BDS. BDS must grow to let Israel know that occupying the Palestinian territories will be more expensive than leaving Palestine. So I think it is effective all over the world.
I think Israel practices apartheid inside their society between Israeli citizens, and not just here between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel is a state of terrorism, racism and racial practices similar to apartheid from 1948 until now. They practice transfer against Palestinians and commit massacres against them. This policy doesn’t stop even to this day.
Examples include the policies against the Bedouin population in Annaqab and other places, as well as making big differences between Palestinians and Jews in all parts of life.
A real life example that I experience is what is going on in my village, Kafr Qaddum. They closed our historical road for settlers. They damage our houses in the West Bank and inside Israel for the Jewish population. The reason for the increase in crime among Palestinians is a result of apartheid and ignoring the crimes from the Israeli police in which they encourage criminals to go on without legal action.