The Arab media reiterated however that the recurring theme of terror attacks being carried out by those carrying Israeli IDs are isolated incidents that were categorically not testament to growing extremism.
In Sur Baher, the hometown of 31-year old Hossam Dwayyat who killed three and wounded dozens in central Jerusalem with a bulldozer he had taken from a nearby construction site, most were shocked to hear the terrorist was one of their own.
"Residents here were appalled by the news. Even his family was surprised that such an honest man, who did not affiliated with any organization, was responsible for the attack. No one believes this man could have gone out and killed those people," Sur Baher's community center director, Tariq Awwad, told Ynet.
Meanwhile police have confirmed Dwayyat also had a criminal record, and had served two years in prison after being convicted of raping a Jewish Israeli woman he had been romantically involved with. He married and had two children upon his release.
Terrorist's home in Sur Baher. (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
"We oppose the murder of any civilian, Arab or Jewish," Awwad said, adding that to the best of his knowledge no Hamas incitement in the village. "I don't think there is extremism here. The residents of the neighborhood are normal and want only to live in peace and receive their full rights.
"I haven't seen any extremism or violence. Personally I don't hear talk of Hamas. Our daily lives are normal, and we aren't zealous. Many Jews visit our neighborhood and we have excellent relationships with them."
However, said Awwad, there was a certain sense frustration among the residents of Sur Baher – which in his opinion stems from the discrimination they suffer at the hands of the Jerusalem Municipality. "The residents suffer and pay taxes according to the law, but receive nothing from the municipality. When there is an attack we are investigated and questioned but when we suffer nobody comes," he said.
'Arab population part of Israel'
Other Arab figures have responded to the attack with dismay.
Samikh al-Qassem, editor of the Nazareth weekly 'Kol al-Arab', told Ynet that it is important to distinguish between Israeli Arabs and the Arab population of Jerusalem and the Territories.
Al-Qassem stressed that the Arab population remains uninfluenced by Hamas and the other terror organizations. "We must be very careful when analyzing Arab-Jewish relations, and there is no need to worry over personal or marginal phenomena that occur here and there.
Israeli Arabs protest (Archive photo: Neta Sela)
"In my opinion Jews and Arabs yearn for peace, and desire to leave this absurd and bloody circle, and free themselves from hate, occupation, violence, and extremism."
"The Arab population of Israel has taken it upon itself to be a part of the State of Israel, along with everything that it entails, and has demonstrated extraordinary political maturity despite the oppressive
policies, the criticism, the lack of equality and the hardships," he said.
"I worry only about the radicalization among MKs. There is a new set of rules that are extremely dangerous, and which can do Israel more harm than the radicalization of the law-abiding Arab population."
Al-Qassam also expressed hopes that "the media in Israel will not allow the anti-Arab nationalism currently running rampant to break through, but rather help preserve the relationship between the two sectors despite the regime's crimes."