IDF and Magen David Adom at the sceneof the terror shooting in the Barkan industrial Zone.
(photo credit: HALLEL MEIR/TPS)
When right-wing politicians and settler leaders want to show visiting diplomats, including European parliamentarians and United States congressmen, that an alternative reality is possible, they bring them to Barkan to meet the Israelis and Palestinians who are not afraid to work together.
Set on a hilltop, the Barkan Industrial Park is one of the jewels of the Samaria region and a symbol for its residents of the economic peace they hope to have with the Palestinians.
It is home to 164 factories and employs 7,200 workers, including 4,200 Palestinians and 3,000 Israelis, according to the Samaria Regional Council that has jurisdiction over the park.
There are an additional 60 factories on a waiting list to enter, the council said of the park located off of the main highway, Route 5, which links Tel Aviv with the West Bank city of Ariel.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein likened this attack to the one last month in the Gush Etzion junction, in which American-Israeli Ari Fuld was fatally stabbed in the back in the parking lot of a supermarket.
That junction, like the Barkan Industrial Park, is open to both Israelis and Palestinians.
It was “unfortunate and disappointing to see a terrorist – for the second time in a short period – do damage to a prosperous areas of coexistence such as the Barkan Industrial Zone and the shopping mall in Gush Etzion where Ari Fuld was murdered,
” Edelstein said. “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.”
The logistical manager for the park where the attack occurred said that it was hard to express the complex feelings of the moment when a man walked into their building to destroy what they had built.
“We believe in a vision of peace,” he said. “We create real coexistence and peace here. We opened factories and invested millions of shekels.”
The Alon Group plans to keep its factory closed on Monday, but the rest of the park will open.
One French immigrant, Yohan Cohen, said he is determined to return to work.
“We are shocked but not afraid,” Cohen said. “I will continue to come here every morning to meet with my Israeli and Palestinian friends.”
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said that the terrorist who shot two Israelis in the park and wounded a third had attempted to “harm the symbol of the economic coexistence of Judea and Samaria and the Barkan industrial zone. I see Arabs and Jews here sitting and crying together. This event is difficult, but it will not break us.”
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