Israeli communities in Samaria (Shomron) had an unusual visit this week as longtime far-left activist attorney Kathleen Peratis toured the region. Peratis has worked with organizations such as Peace Now, and was among the founders of J Street.
Shomron Liaison Office guide Ron Jager showed Peratis the Barkan Industrial Zone, where Israelis and Palestinian Authority Arabs work side by side, as well as the established Jewish communities in the region.
Peratis admitted to being “impressed with some of the positive steps that have been made.” She also expressed uncertainty over whether Israelis living in the region would, or could, be forced to leave their homes.
She continued to state that Israeli communities “are a source of the problem” and take land that “historically and rightly should belong to the Palestinians.” She also told Arutz Sheva that she believes Arabs in the region suffer “horrible oppression and discrimination.”
Shomron Liaison Office Director David Haivri is behind the project to provide tours of the region in coordination with the Shomron Regional Council. Haivri said his goal when showing leftist activists the region is to “pull the rug out” from under their beliefs by showing the positive influence Israeli settlement has had, and the Palestinian Authority’s ineffectiveness in creating change.
Haivri noted that the Samaria Council’s advocacy project tackles the real issues in the Israel-Arab conflict. Many Israel advocacy programs stick to talking about Israel’s beaches and hi-tech, he said, while Samaria residents are not afraid to discuss the Jewish historic claim to the land.