Is there a chance for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence in the West Bank? Thursday, residents of the Modeiin Elite settlement donated NIS 30,000 worth of medical equipment to an ambulance from the neighboring Palestinian village of Naleen.
The ambulance itself was purchased by village residents, but they didn't have enough money for equipment inside the ambulance. Resident Husseini Nafar said that they originally appealed to Palestinian Authority sources, who told them to "find another donor".
Their next appeal was made to head of Modeiin Elite's security Shuky Guterman, who remains in constant contact with village residents. "In the current situation, there's not much for the ambulance to do other than hauling dead people," he was told.
The ambulance did not even have a gurney and all of the drugs inside had expired. Town mayor Yakov Guterman, a charity organization, and residents of the settlement immediately took action to rectify the situation.
A ceremony in honor of the donation - coordinated by the IDF's coordination and liaison branch - was held at the Modeiin Elite fire station, which afforded village residents a view across the fence.
A delegation from Naleen, including village mayor Muhammad Srur, was escorted through the nearest crossing by IDF representatives.
Israeli-Palestinian contact goes way back
Modeiin's mayor, the first speaker at the event, emphasized that "saving lives is important to both faiths and is mentioned both in the Torah and the Quran. We hope that the people in Naleen will have cause to use the ambulance for happy occasions such as births."
"Neither the left or right-wing can create discourse between us and our neighbors, particularly Naleen," Guterman continued, recounting that some thousand village residents work in Modeiin Elite, thus creating a daily connection between the villages.
Husseini Nafar, the leader of one of the village clans, also spoke and asked in his speech "to stop the building of the fence that will disrupt our life. We aren't willing to be separated from Hashmonaim and Modeiin Elite."
It turns out that the two settlements have been in contact with the village for a long time, through their Magen David Adom EMT station. One MDA volunteer, Avi Schteiglitz, told of many incidents when paramedics were called to the entrance of the village in order to treat people.
"Once we were called to treat a child who had been hit in the eye with a rock. We put him on the ambulance on the village side of the crossing, but the army wouldn't let us cross right away. After a while, we received permission and arrived at Tel Hashomer hospital, where the boy received treatment."
A month and a half later, the boy's father called Schteiglitz and invited him to a feast in honor of the boy's recovery. "I didn't go to the feast because I don't enter the village for security reasons, but I arrived outside the village and met with the family, and it was very moving for everyone."