Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wondering about the "collaborators"

Here's a fairly common story from the last several years since the Intifadah began:

Palestinian gunmen in the Gaza Strip seized two men they accused of collaborating with Israel on Tuesday in another sign of lawlessness in the territory that Israeli forces abandoned last month. A newly formed armed group within the Fatah movement announced it had taken the men because security forces had failed to bring to justice suspected collaborators during a five-year-old uprising.
I've often wondered when I've seen these stories (which usually involve being gunned down or kicked to death in the street, not being kidnapped), what the real story is. Were the victims truly collaborating with Israel? And if so, why? In that supercharged, hate-filled atmosphere, what kind of people would work with an enemy that is viewed as an ape, as Satan, as evil-incarnate, as an occupier, as an imperialist oppressor? Perhaps the collaborators, if they really exist, do it for money. Perhaps they look at the anarchy and hate around them and think that life was better before the Intifadah began, when they were the beneficiaries of an Arab standard of living that rose dramatically under Israeli rule in the years between 1948 and 1967, and was the best in the region. Perhaps they envy their Arab compatriots who are Israeli citizens, and who have all the rights of citizenship. All possible. The other possibility is that no one in his right mind living in the Palestinian territories would ever collaborate because the risks are too great. And no one raised in that environment would ever dream, in any event, of working with the Israelis, who are viewed as nothing but potential cannon/bomb fodder. In that case, the concept of a collaborator is nothing but a code word for someone the PA wants to "cleanse." Perhaps a family feud, perhaps a political power struggle, perhaps a threat to the "street" to keep in line. There's a truth out there somewhere. I just wonder what it is.