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News Link • Palestine -- Israel

The Duke of Nablus


The name of Munib al-Masri has recently come up as a possible candidate for prime minister of a Palestinian national unity government. Not being a member of either Fatah or Hamas, he is acceptable to both.

Al-Masri himself denies any such ambition. He says that he is too old (77) and that a younger generation of Palestinians should take over.

He also says that he is quite content with his present situation.

And so would you be.

The West Bank city of Nablus nestles in the valley between two tall mountains, Ebal and Gerizim. Mount Gerizim is the more famous one, because it is sacred to the Samaritan people, who believe that God commanded the Israelites to build his temple there. For them, Jerusalem is just an upstart.

Mount Gerizim, 881 meters above sea level, towers 330 meters above the center of Nablus. It is mentioned many times in the Bible. There, Jotham, the son of the judge Gideon, made his famous speech comparing politicians to the bramble, a good-for-nothing plant that bears no fruit, has no scent, and provides no shade, which agreed to be the king of the trees after all the other trees declined the honor. Perhaps Munib al-Masri agrees with this lesson, which seems strangely relevant in many countries today.


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