In One West Bank Palestinian Village, Economics Trumps Conflict with Israel

(Jerusalem Post) Tovah Lazaroff - On one side of the highway is Betar Illit, a haredi city of more than 43,000. On the other side, a large wire fence lines a portion of the road on the Husan side to protect against rock-throwing. In front of the Palestinian village of 7,000 is a large red sign in three languages that states, "Entry by Israeli citizens is dangerous." But cars with Israeli licenses streamed into the village. In his hardware store in Husan, Rabiya Ahmed Sabateen said, "Look outside. You see more Jews than Arabs here." At a garage next door, a Palestinian mechanic, Husan Jabri, explained that almost all his customers are Jews. Hebrew signs dot the road on which the Palestinian businesses are located. Sabateen said the unofficial ties with the people of Betar Illit grew from the ground up, from individual relationships. But security officials are wary of the relationship. Shlomo Vaknin, chief security officer for the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria, said that when the two communities have an economic relationship and know one another on a personal level, it does lessen the violence in the area and makes it more secure. But that pales in comparison to the risks, he said. Of particular concern is that Israelis can be easily targeted by terrorists who want to kidnap them.

2014-02-28 00:00:00

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