when I asked a former Communist fighter from this bordering village with Israel about the now mainstream idea that Palestinian fighters were with time despised by the local population, he answered me that it is Palestinian changing environment that can account for that.
According to him, Palestinians were once the fida’yin hiding and fighting in and from the remote fields of olive trees. They slept under the trees had nomadic ‘revolutionary’ patterns of life, until increasingly efficient Israeli raids pushed them to city locations like Saida and Sour. From there, their whole modes of life changed. They settled in houses even if very poor, started having cars, lived city life, etc. Their social surroundings changed and with it their priorities and the meanings they assigned to specific forms of collective actions.
And with the increasingly institutionalized influence these groups started having in the region, they deployed more efforts at keeping political leverage, at showing who has the weapons and at sinking into intra-fighting between the various groups on the ground, than at a concerted effort to attack Israelis.
In a way this particular reading of ‘what the Palestinians became’ may hint at the fact that what really bothered ‘the Shi’as’ was not so much that the Palestinians were fighting the Israelis from their lands, but all the other practices the Palestinians were engaged in that actually obstructed an efficient strategy of fighting Israel from materializing. It does not mean that all “the Shi’as” held violently antagonistic feelings towards Israel in the abstract sense. But there was clearly, and due to the social niche (and here we can say class to some extent) to which the Shi’as belong to, some type of admiration towards whoever show modesty in behavior and commitment to resistance activities (probably the case for early fida’yin activities).
This can help explain even better what became so attractive in the more ‘just’ ways Hizbullah practiced resistance work. It ultimately explains how such a more ‘purist’ form of mobilization eventually emerged and was prevailing in the available interpretations of what is Hizbullah about (in the language, in discursive terms).
Of course all of this is just one reading, that mostly belong to this particular group of “socially aware” class (like this communist fighter). I assume here that most people of his generation were exposed to similar social activities (also according to his testimony), as the communist party was very active in the area (through public events, workshops, schools, etc.) especially prior to the first Israeli incursion of 1978.