Reality check: Israeli-Palestinian Arab coexistence - the Big Lie
Reality check: Israeli-Palestinian Arab coexistence - the Big Lie

The Barkan Industrial Zone massacre, is just days old, and already the moral watchdogs of the Peace Process are wringing their hands, mourning its possible demise. “We shall not allow abominable terrorists to harm coexistence,” is the rallying cry.

President Reuven Rivlin, addressing the attack, said, “I’m appalled and distressed by the horrible terror attack carried out in the Barkan industrial area...This was an attack against the idea of Israelis and Palestinians coexisting, and living peacefully side by side. I call upon the Palestinian leadership to condemn this despicable terror attack...”

Against coexistence? I thought it was an attack against Jews?

Then Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, comparing the attack to the one at the Gush Etzion junction last month, said, “its unfortunate and disappointing to see a terrorist – for the second time in a short period – do damage to prosperous areas of coexistence such as the Barkan Industrial Zone and the shopping mall in Gush Etzion where Ari Fuld was murdered...The appropriate response to the murderous attack in Barkan is to continue to strengthen the joint industrial zones. We shall not allow abominable terrorists to harm coexistence.”

This is how Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s leading Hebrew papers, reported, “Over 30,000 Palestinians from the 'West Bank' have work permits for the different industrial zones in the territories or for the Israeli communities. To this day, only a few—less than ten—took advantage of the situation to carry out terror attacks (among them was the attack last month in Gush Etzion), so Israel's policy of differentiating between terrorists and the uninvolved population has proven itself, and that is also why the IDF did not impose a closure on the terrorist's village. Despite the grave attack, the IDF will seek to maintain this policy and the coexistence in the industrial zones, which aids both the Palestinian and Israeli economy.”

That is a classic example of how Israeli media obfuscate the Israeli public. Five or ten murderous attacks on Jews is five or ten too many!

While describing the IDF search for the murderer, IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said that the terrorist had a work permit, yet he managed to enter the factory with a rifle, and that needs to be investigated. “The industrial area is a zone of coexistence where Palestinians with work permits are employed alongside Israelis. We’ll review this incident and decide how to proceed from here."

"Nevertheless, preserving the coexistence is one of the army’s missions,” the IDF Spokesperson went on to say.

Even settler leaders are on the “coexistence” bandwagon.

After the attack, Yossi Dagan, head of the Samarian Regional Council said, “This is a serious incident in an area which symbolizes a bridge of coexistence in the 'West Bank'. More than 8,000 employees work in the Barkan industrial area, with half of them being Jewish and half residents of the Palestinian Authority.”

Notice the emphasis is on how “coexistence” is under threat.

A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), in September 2018, asked Palestinian Arabs to choose between the two-state solution (and we know what that means for Israel) , the one-state solution, or any other third solution.  53% preferred the two-state solution, 24% preferred the one-state solution, and 14% preferred some other solution.

When asked their preferred way to “reach a peace agreement with Israel,” only a very small minority of 14% prefer to keep the status quo of "coexistence" and their jobs.

Clearly smashing the myth of Palestinian support for coexistence

And, a Jerusalem Media and Communication Center survey, at the end of June 2018, found that more than 61% of Palestinians said they opposed the Oslo Accords (up from 48.3% in March, 2013).

And, that opposition always translates into support for terrorism.

The PSR study also found a large majority, 54% support “resistance” (33% armed attacks and 21% non-violent resistance), to only 39% who think that negotiation is the most effective means of establishing a Palestinian Arab state next to the state of Israel.

Important to note, a Pew poll (Sept. 2013) of global attitudes, surveying the Muslim populations in 11 countries/territories, the only majority to support suicide bombings was found in the 'West Bank' and Gaza. A whopping 62% of Palestinian Muslims believe that suicide bombings were often or sometimes justified (37% often, 25% sometimes).. This is almost double the result in the next closest country, Lebanon, with 33% support for suicide bombings.

The Palestinian Authority continues incitement and payments to terrorists or their families. So, where exactly is the “coexistence”?
And a Feb. 2014, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Summary, wrote: “The demonization of Jews and Israelis, including by the use of antisemitic motifs; the hatred generated by this incitement is a precursor to violence and terrorism, which relies in part on the dehumanization of the target. The denial of Israel's existence and its delegitimization in any borders, in part by denying the existence of a Jewish peopleand its historic, religious and cultural ties to the land of Israel...encourages violence and harms prospects for peace, as a true resolution of the conflict is not possible until the Palestinians are willing to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.”

Nothing has changed since then. The Palestinian Authority continues incitement and payments to terrorists or their families. So, where exactly is the “coexistence”?

Sarah Vettori, an employee of the Alon factory, who was moderately wounded in the shooting attack, said,“I’ve worked with Arabs for many years, and I'm not afraid. Unfortunately this is not the first and not the last time something like this happens...Obviously, I'll go back to work as usual, I do not think everyone is bad…it’s just the nature of the situation we have in our country. I don’t think it will shake the coexistence we have there…We will all work together and everything will be fine…This is what I am hoping for,” she concluded.

Hope is not a strategy!

Assaf, the manager of the Alon factory, said that he is in charge of 75 Palestinian workers, with whom, he claims, he has a good relationship. “I believe in coexistence, but one [attack] destroys everything.”

It seems many in Israel are mesmerized with the idea of “coexistence” even if it is only one-sided. Only Jews seem to dream of it. In contrast:

The Hamas terror organization welcomed the terror attack, “The Barkan shooting is a new chapter in our resistance in the West Bank...The incident has proven that the attempts of the Palestinian Authority to normalize relations with the Zionist occupier are unsuccessful...The Palestinian youth want confrontation.”

Daoud Shehab, an Islamic Jihad spokesman, described the shooting attack as reply to “Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, Jerusalem, the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar and the damage Israel causes to the al-Aqsa mosque...We call on our people to rise up against the settlements terror until the West Bank is free from it.”

At least Hamas and Islamic Jihad are openly honest. Is anybody listening?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Ashraf Na’alwa, who carried out the Barkan attack, will receive payments from the PA. “The Palestinian terrorist who murdered Kim Levengrond Yehezkel & Ziv Hajbi will be paid a monthly salary for life by the PA, thus incentivizing more murderous terrorism against Israelis.”

So, Fatah and the PA are obviously against “coexistence” too.

But there are some sane voices out there. Education Minister Naftali Bennett stated: “While Israel endures terrible sadness, Hamas is handing out candies and Abbas is looking after salaries. We must stop this celebration. The State of Israel is obliged to ensure the security of its citizens. We must restore the deterrence.”

And, Minister Yuval Steinitz, responded to the attack in Barkan by saying, “This is another deadly terrorist attack...the basic reason is clear: The anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli education from kindergarten [on] for hatred against Jews, against Israelis – from kindergarten in the Palestinian Authority – at the end of the day, Abu Mazen is to be blamed, because these are the messages of his education system for kids when they are 1, 2, 3 years old.”

When one side dreams of peace and coexistence and the other side doesn’t, that’s a prescription for Asymmetrical Warfare, that’s a prescription for disaster. It lulls the Israeli public into a state of defenselessness. 

Israel needs a Reality Check. Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie!

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.