Torched mosque in Kusra
Photo: Salma A-Davi, Betzelem
Razed structures in Migron
Photo: AFP

Settlers, Palestinians gather to discuss peace

Activists from both sides of divide tour Jewish outpost, Palestinian village, say: 'We can make peace'

A few dozen settlers and Palestinians, members of the Land of Peace movement, met on Tuesday at the West Bank outpost of Migron in an attempt to mend the rifts. The group toured the ruins of the structures razed by Civil Administration forces on Monday, a measure that prompted settlers to riot and lead to the arrests of six teens.


"I understand the people of Migron," a Palestinian resident of a Hebron vicinity village said. "Homes were destroyed at my village on several occasions as well. Razing doesn't lead to security. We must learn to live together."


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Migron residents were not in attendance at the gathering, although the outpost's founder said he would have been happy to come if he would have been invited.


Group near vandalized mosque (Photo: Ohad Zweigenberg)
Group near vandalized mosque (Photo: Ohad Zweigenberg)

"This might not be the best time to make amends, but we have nothing against our Palestinian neighbors," said Itay Harel. "In fact, we used to live in great coexistence."


'We have the same father'

Later the group continued to the village of Kusra, south of Nablus, the site of a "price tag" operation during which unidentified assailants torched a mosque and spray-painted Hebrew slogans on its walls. The operation is thought to have been perpetrated in response to the Migron outpost razing.


Despite the fact that the head of village agreed to visit, the group was delayed when loud arguments  broke between the residents over the tour.


At one point, when it appeared that the group would have to leave without entering the village, Land of Peace head Nahum Pachenik intervened.


'We can make peace' (Photo: Ohad Zweigenberg)
'We can make peace' (Photo: Ohad Zweigenberg)

"You are the sons of Ishmael, and we are the sons of Yitzhak," he told the village residents. "We have the same father. We oppose the destruction of mosques. Such acts go against the faith in god."


The residents eventually relented and let the convoy through. At the center of town, near the vandalized mosque, the settlers and the Palestinians paused to discuss the the possibility of living together in peace.


"Political conclusions on how to solve the conflict did not come out of it, but this was an important gathering," Pachenik said. "I told them that if we would all lie on the ground and listen quietly, we would hear it crying over the spilled blood of the sons of Abraham.


"Suddenly they realized that they have someone to talk to. The tour was concluded with a powerful statement made by one of the town's senior officials. He said that 'with settlers like these, we can make peace.'"




פרסום ראשון: 09.07.11, 00:31
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