Israelis and Palestinians – surprising examples which challenge preconceptions

Two events happened recently in Israel which in their own strange way debunk some myths about how  Israelis treat Palestinians, especially Israeli Arab, and how Palestinians view Israelis.

First story in Ha’aretz: Violent settlers freed over ‘improper’ police conduct.

Apparently Israeli police in Kfar Sava have been using entrapment; not against Palestinians but against Israeli Jewish settlers.

The story does not show either the settlers or the police in a particularly good light.

The police posed as Palestinians in an illegal West Bank settlement. Note that it is designated illegal by Ha’aretz. Others would disagree. The police were pretending to fix a tyre. Now, if you remember, recently two policeman were killed by Palestinians they went to help who were pretending to fix a puncture. (This itself says something of the dangers of being ‘nice’ to Palestinians when a minority are prepared to kill you for it.) The settlers attacked the police who they thought were Palestinians and vandalised the (unmarked police) car. The police promptly arrested them.

The settlers were freed because of the provocation. The police were reprimanded by a judge for endangering life recklessly – their own.

Now although this is somewhat unsavoury the police were acting to protect Palestinians from extremist Jewish settlers by provoking them to expose themselves by this ruse. When do we hear about such things in the UK press? Most would find it unbelievable that Israeli police are trying to root out extremist Jews to protect Palestinians in the West Bank.

Police sources told Ha’aretz that the technique is established and effective when it comes to the arrest of settlers involved in attacking Palestinians.

says Ha’aretz. Sometimes, despite the attempts to characterise Israelis as ethnic cleansers, apartheid-mongers and worse, stories like this show us that things are not as black and white as you might think. Despite the dubious nature of the strategy it puts the police in a positive light, don’t you think?

Second an Associated Press story on yNetNews.com:

A Palestinian youth orchestra from Jenin travelled to Holon in Israel to sing and perform for Holocaust survivors. Just read that sentence again.

Strings for Peace, youth orchestra from Jenin refugee camp, gives touching musical performance for Holocaust survivors in Israeli town Holon as part of Good Deeds Day. Zeid, one of musicians in group: Only people who have been through suffering understand each other….

the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide — or even what the Holocaust was.

One of the pupils expressed sympathy and was shocked at learning the story of the elderly survivors. Some had never met ordinary Israelis before. The Holocaust is not taught to Palestinians and Denial is commonplace.

The audience were shocked when they learned the youths were from Jenin but when it was announced they would sing for peace the audience burst into applause.

“I’m here to raise spirits,” Younis [the conductor] said. “These are poor, old people.”

If only there were more events like this to bring these two peoples together. It should be noted that this event was part of a programme organised by Shari Arison, a wealthy Israeli business woman as part of the annual Good Deeds Day events.