A narrative can be a powerful tool — but so can the truth, when it is spoken by someone who has seen reality with their own eyes.
Right now, the “narrative” regarding the Palestinian situation is almost exclusively anti-Israel and anti-American.
One Palestinian spoke to IJR Ahmad Abu Ras, 28, lives in the West Bank and cannot leave because he is on a list. It’s the type of list that can lead to your death. But that hasn’t stopped him from voicing his views in an area where speaking out against the Palestinian Authority can bring consequences of imprisonment and even torture.
Still, Ras spoke to Independent Journal Review, courtesy of a veteran member of the Israeli Defense Forces. While thousands of Palestinians protested President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital, Ras holds a different view.
“I was raised in a Palestinian religious family who hated Israel,” Ras said. “We supported and followed Hamas.” He didn’t go into details about the time he supported and was a member of the terrorist group, but he did talk about what changed his mind.
Ras’s shift in thinking came when he found himself behind bars in an Israeli jail for allegedly assaulting a police officer. Though incarceration was nothing new for Ras, as he had been imprisoned in the West Bank before. He expected to receive inhumane treatment similar to what he experienced back home.
“In Palestine, I was in isolation for a very long time,” he said. “It’s a long nightmare, and they beat you, they do everything they can until you confess to things you never did … We are raised to treat our Muslim brothers with kindness, but the Israelis treated me better than my Muslim brothers did.”
They were supposed to be my enemies,” Ras said. “But the police officer in jail told me ‘I want you to be free, if you’re innocent, we will let you go.’”
As it turns out, Ras was found innocent of the charges against him and released. “It was fair,” he said, “They asked me questions, it lasted a few hours, and it was over.”
“That was my turning point,” he said. However, his choice to think and act a different way didn’t come without severe consequences.
“I still suffer from my time in jail. I cannot leave. If you reach the border, the guards will kill you. So, my name is on a list with many other Palestinians. We go to jail for nothing, and it happens a lot.”
“We receive a false charge, get tortured, and are banned from traveling anywhere. And it’s not just me, thousands of Palestinians are suffering the same thing.”