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PA and Israel-Haters Freak Out As “Settlers” And Palestinians Get Along

A few days ago, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi stood before a group of journalists (including Israellycool contributor RealJStreets) and visiting international parliamentarians in Gush Etzion, “excitedly” telling of his meeting with Arab neighbors. The leaders of nearby Arab villages had come to Efrat to visit his sukkah, the temporary dwelling used for the Sukkot holiday.

In sukkah at Roza restaurant in Gush Eztion near Tzomat Hagush Oded Reivvi tells of Palestinians in his sukkah
Photo: RealJStreets

It was an “honor hosting Palestinians in my sukkah,” Revivi said. We are “building bridges, not fences,” happily concluded the Jewish mayor.

You can read more about it here in this piece by William Booth of the Washington Post, who is hardly pro-Israel. And while the report contains some inaccuracies (for instance, not all of Efrat’s residents are affluent, as he suggests), and the biases peak out with his focus on the “asymmetry” of the sides, it is important because it shows a reality on the ground: Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria and their palestinian neighbors can, and sometimes do, get along. Not only that, but by providing the palestinians with jobs, the so-called “settlements” are not the “obstacle to peace” so many would like us to believe.

A couple dozen Palestinians accepted the mayor’s invitation this week to share brownies, grapes, cookies, apples and coffee, alongside 30 Israeli settlers. This was a first.

The idea? The sides were here to talk, perhaps even to bond — no matter if the dynamic was a little awkward and asymmetrical.

Everyone was very polite. A Palestinian farmer sat next to an Israeli diplomat. They live a mile and a world apart. A rabbi from the settlement broke bread with a Palestinian stone mason. Guests shook hands, took selfies, patted one another on the back. Both sides seemed a little stunned to be together celebrating a Jewish holiday.

One Palestinian stood and told the guests that he didn’t want to see the West Bank “turn into Syria.”

Another said he didn’t like “being lumped together with the terrorists.”

Everyone talked about peace. Nobody really talked about one state or two states. They didn’t mention Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

There were some remarkable moments.

Ahmad Mousa, 58, a contractor from the neighboring Palestinian village of Wadi Al Nis, said, “We consider ourselves part of the family, part of the people of Efrat.”

You do not hear that much in the West Bank, at least not in public, with smartphone cameras rolling.

He said, “Seventy percent of our village works in Efrat. They treat us very well and we are very good to them, too.”

Noman Othman, 41, a construction worker from Wadi Al Nis, said this was his first time as a guest in a home in the settlement, although he had worked here for years, building houses.

“This is good,” he said. “Our relationship is evolving.”

Asked whether he bore any grudge against the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, now home to 400,000 settlers, which the Obama administration has condemned as “an obstacle to peace,” Othman said nope. He didn’t have any problem with Efrat.

If there was a Palestinian state someday, a dream Palestinians say is growing more distant, Othman said the Jews in Efrat “should stay on their land.”

He saw it this way: “These are their houses. They bought them with their own money. We should have no problem living together — if there is peace.”

Efrat’s mayor said that in the past few years he has traveled to neighboring Palestinian villages to celebrate Muslim holidays. His neighbors slaughter a lamb. He has photos on his smartphone. There is a feast. It is important to keep the lines of communication open, he said.

Here “keeping the peace” is not just words. The mayor said more than 1,000 Palestinians work daily in the Efrat settlement: at the shops, sweeping the streets, maintaining the infrastructure, fixing the solar panels, building the new houses, remodeling the older ones.

And you just know this shows a reality on the ground when you get this reaction from DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein:

But from reality on the ground to thudding back to earth:

Three Palestinians who accepted an invitation to the sukkah of the head of a West Bank settlement were summoned by Palestinian Authority intelligence on Thursday to explain why they had visited “murderers of babies.”

After images of the Palestinians at the event circulated on social media, they were summoned by Palestinian intelligence and asked about their meeting with “the murderers of babies” — a possible reference to an accident six weeks ago in which an Efrat resident ran over and killed a six-year-old Palestinian girl. The girl’s parents were also at the sukkah gathering, Channel 2 said.

According to Dani Dayan, Israel’s Consul General New York, the palestinians were arrested.

If the PA was truly interested in peace, they should have applauded this initiative by the mayor of Efrat. But that’s the thing – they are not interested in peace.

In fact, the PA are an obstacle to peace, not the so-called “settlements”.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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