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Four Palestinians Arrested After Attending Jewish Holiday Event

Four Palestinians who attended a Jewish holiday event in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank were arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces shortly thereafter.

“Any Palestinian cooperation with settlers is viewed as violating the law, as he cooperates with the enemy,” a senior Palestinian security official told the Times of Israel.

Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and a lieutenant colonel in the army reserves, invited a few dozen Palestinian men from surrounding villages to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The Palestinians mingled with around 30 Israelis. “Everyone was very polite,” The Washington Post reported. “A Palestinian farmer sat next to an Israeli diplomat. They live a mile and a world apart. A rabbi from the settlement broke bread with a Palestinian stonemason. Guests shook hands, took selfies, patted one another on the back. Both sides seemed a little stunned to be together celebrating a Jewish holiday.”

The Palestinians in attendance came as a gesture of friendship, they said, but also to list grievances about Israeli policies to those in attendance, who included Israeli military and police figures. Relatives of the arrested men told the Post that it was the presence of those figures that likely led to their detention.

Among those arrested was Riad Abu Hamad, who was also arrested by Palestinian security earlier this year after he was interviewed on Israeli television about his relationships with Israelis in the West Bank. Abu Hamad claimed at the party that he had never spoken out against the Palestinians. “I’ve spoken out against closing [Israeli] factories in the West Bank,” he told the Post. “We need the work. Where are the Palestinian factories?”

“It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority,” Revivi said after the arrests. “Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together.”

“Where is the outrage of human rights organizations? There is none. To their great shame, they are silent,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook.

This silence is neither new nor surprising. These organizations are silent when the Palestinian leadership pays salaries to the families of terrorists, glorifies murderers and calls streets and city-centers after them.

These organizations prove again and against that they are not actually interested in human rights, but only in shaming Israel and libeling it around the world. They use the important ideal of human rights as a political tool to bash Israel.

Netanyahu added that the incident “is yet another proof of the Palestinian refusal to make peace.”

The four detained Palestinians were freed on Sunday night, Israel’s Channel 2 reported, adding that the Israel Defense Force’s Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, had played a leading role in securing their release.

[Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash90]