National Geographic : 1992 Jun
a man with the sinewy look of one who has spent many hours at harsh labor. He sounds resigned when I ask how he can bear to build houses in the hated settlement on the hill. "You have to live," he says, shrugging, "and there are no other jobs around. The authorities send us to work on construction because no Israeli is willing to do it." Chatting with him and other youths in Sal fit, I come to see how quickly they slip from one life to another, from the Israeli world to the Palestinian world and back again. On the afternoon when we meet, Muhammad and the others tell me about how they had clashed with the Israeli Army the previous night. "This happens a couple of times a week," says Muhammad, drawing on another ciga rette and speaking nonchalantly, as if he is dis cussing a soccer match. Tonight he and the others will probably wave the Palestinian flag again, paint anti-Israeli graffiti on Salfit walls, and throw rocks at the army. And tomorrow they will get out of bed and go back to work, building new houses for Israelis. It is just this fear-that troublemakers are at work among Israelis-that leads to frequent army curfews and to restrictions on free move ment, which makes it hard for Palestinians to earn a living. Moreover, Palestinian under ground leaders order frequent one-day strikes, further undermining the economy. When I ask Israeli officials about Pales tinian unemployment, they say there is little hope for improvement until the intifada ends, removing a perceived threat to Israeli security. Moshe Arens, Israel's defense minister and the man in charge of administering the occu pied territories, explains. "The violence has brought about a situation in which Israelis are concerned that some guy who may be coming for dinner is actually coming in to knife some body in the streets of Israel," he tells me. "Whatever restrictions we have imposed are to give Israelis a sense of security. Women are being knifed at bus stops. People come in to work and knife their bosses." At Qiryat Arba, a new settlement next to the mostly Arab town of Hebron in the West Bank, Jewish settlers patrol the streets with submachine guns slung over their shoulders. Arrested by Iraqi soldiers during their invasion of Kuwait last year, this Palestinian was accused of being a Kuwaiti sympathizer and then tortured. At war's end, he was refused reentry into Kuwait, where Palestinians were accused of being Iraqisympathizers. He kneels at the border stranded, scarred, and stateless. In Jordan'sBaqaa refugee camp, ten-year-old Khulud Ghunaym (left) draws and dreams about living in Jerusalem, although she has never been there. Who Are the Palestinians?