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We Hate Each Other More than the Jews

Els van Diggele, co-speaker Jan Keulen

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. She 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. In her book We haten elkaar meer dan de Joden (ed. transl: We Hate Each Other More than the Jews) (2017) she exposes the internal conflicts and corruption within Palestinian society. Much more than a historical study, her book offers first-rate investigative journalism and a colourful, intimate look at life in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Historian Els van Diggele has studied Palestinian society for many years. In We haten elkaar meer dan de Joden (2017), she describes how much the Palestinians suffer under their own leaders. This is the last book in her trilogy about conflicts within religious groups in the region. Previous works include Een volk dat alleen woont (A People Who Live Apart) (2000), about struggles over Jewish identity in Israel and Heilige ruzies: Christenen in Israël (Holy Quarrels, Christians in Israel) (2007).

Jan Keulen is a journalist and expert on Middle Eastern affairs. He is director of The Rights Forum, a network of former ministers and professors of international law to promote a just and durable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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