The Elder of Ziyon has a blog post about a social get-together between Israelis on the West Bank and Palestinians who live near the settlement.
The post quotes heavily from the Washington Post about the nature of peaceful exchanges between the people. It sounded nice, hopeful, though guarded in some ways. An excerpt:
And then the Palestinians who participated were questioned by the PA police. From the Elder's post,
But in Palestinian media, this story was treated as a catastrophe.
As soon as this story was reported, the deputy governor of Bethlehem Mohammed Taha promised an investigation and possible arrests for this crime of meeting Jews who live in Judea. Taha said he will initiate legal proceedings against the participants, saying it is not the culture and education of Palestinians to visit these Jews, it is a "dangerous and unacceptable phenomenon," and he will follow up on the matter with Palestinian security services and factions.
Indeed, that is what happened:The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces arrested three Palestinian Arabs from the Gush Etzion area who “dared” to visit the sukkah of Oded Revivi, mayor of the town of Efrat.
Channel 2 News reported on Thursday evening that the Arabs who were arrested were questioned over allegations they met with "baby-killers", an apparent reference to General Nitzan Alon, the head of the IDF's Operations Directorate, and the Shai District Police Commander, who were also guests in the same sukkah.
Revivi said on Thursday evening, “Yesterday we sat in the sukkah - Jews and Muslims. We ate, drank and talked about common themes and our hope for a better neighborhood and for peace. Today the PA summoned some of the Muslim guests for questioning.
“All those who pressure the Israeli government to enter a peace process with the Palestinian Authority should be reminded that they behave in a way that does the opposite of encouraging peace with their Jewish neighbors,” continued Revivi. “An authority which names squares after suicide bombers and summons for questioning citizens who drink coffee and talk about peace with their Jewish neighbors is not one that promotes peace.
“I salute my neighbors who were not afraid to come to our sukkah yesterday, to talk about peace, who asked to be photographed and to show the world that they are brave enough to stand up for peace,” he stressed.
I hope that the Washington Post publishes a follow-up. The arrests are just as important a story as the meeting was.