View from the Hills: Of coexistence, terror, talking rocks

So what is the true nature of the state of affairs these days between the Arabs and Jews in my area or anywhere else in Judea and Samaria?

view of the west bank (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
view of the west bank
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
If only rocks could talk. In Israel they would have a lot to say, with thousands of years of history embedded in this land: from the prophets and kings, to the rise and fall of dynasties, to the countless wars throughout the generations. And in our time they would tell the story of the Jewish Nation returning, and assuming control, of its ancestral homeland after 2,000 years in exile.
The rocks in places like Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem would probably be the most vocal, especially in regard to the Jewish connection to those areas in which archeologists and historians have pinpointed sites of Biblical significance, including ‘The Paths of the Patriarchs,” the burial tomb of Joseph the Oneirologist, and of course the location of Holy Jewish Temples.
But in today’s reality, Jerusalem along with Judea and Samaria (and other places in Israel), are inhabited not only by Jews, but our Arab cousins as well. Following the second intifada, and most recently the Itamar massacre, a question that literally keeps me up tossing and turning at night is the true attitude of my average Arab (Palestinian – a term I have issues using) neighbor visà- vis an Israeli presence, and jurisdiction, in these areas, but ultimately over the entire country.
While the Palestinian Authority continues to incite the masses toward violence against Israel via hate education in schools, on television and in newspapers, and also glorifies terrorism by naming town squares and summer camps after “martyrs,” I’m curious to know what percentage of the general “Palestinian” Arab population these days is brainwashed into believing that Israel is the ultimate enemy, worthy only of annihilation.
The first “rocks” I would question seeking answers would be the ones just down the road from my house at the Gush Etzion Junction, in light of two recent events – both which perhaps would lead one to reach different conclusions.
One night last week around midnight, as I drove home from Alon Shvut to Elazar following my weekly pickup basketball game, I witnessed the tail end of a traffic accident. An Arab motorcyclist was lying in the road, clearly in pain, after smashing into the back of another Arab-driven vehicle and being thrown onto the pavement.
The bike had been torn into dozens, if not hundreds, of fragments of all sizes, and I couldn’t help thinking how lucky he was to have escaped serious injury or death.
As a near scuffle broke out between the driver of the car, which also sustained damage, along with his passengers, and the motorcyclist and his friends who also arrived at the scene, it was a group of kippah-clad “settler” motorists who stepped in to calm the situation, along with a “settler” ambulance corp. that was the first to arrive to treat the wounded motorcyclist. When tensions calmed, it seemed that the Arabs were grateful for having concerned Jewish neighbors to restore order and provide medical first-aid.
HOWEVER, IN the second incident a few days later, as hundreds of cyclists (including myself) gathered just meters from where the motorcycle accident took place for a water break during an annual Jerusalem Day bike ride from Kiryat Arba to Jerusalem, an Arab teen hidden among the riders was caught by a soldier, brandishing an 11-inch knife.
The soldier, after witnessing the youth acting suspiciously, jumped on the would-be attacker, most likely preventing what could have been a fatal tragedy. I didn’t even know the threat existed until reading about the incident hours later. Ironically, the Arab ended up only stabbing himself and, you guessed it, was treated by Jewish medics and hospitalized in a Jerusalem hospital.
So what is the true nature of the state of affairs these days between the Arabs and Jews in my area or anywhere else in Judea and Samaria? In separate interviews I recently conducted with both the newly elected mayor and the former mayor of Gush Etzion, both independently described an atmosphere of co-existence between the Jews and Arabs in the area (which would support the events described in the motorcycle incident).
Both also independently admitted that while relations in the Gush between the two groups is quiet, outside, in other areas in Judea and Samaria, it’s a different ballgame (which would possibly support the second incident, as the young attacker was an outsider, arriving from his hometown of Hebron in hopes of committing murder).
Ultimately then, maybe the answer to my question as to which event reflects the true reality is “both.” In other words, there are Arabs who are interested in simply going to work every day, sending their children to school, and coming home, uninfluenced – able to tune out the hate propaganda spewed by their leadership.
Then again, it is obvious that for others, the goal remains spilling as much Jewish blood as possible. A weekly email “terror diary” compiled and released by the Hatzolah Judea and Samaria first-response medical organization indicating nearly daily Arab rock, firebomb and other types of attacks would back this theory.
With both possibilities existing, I’ll continue tossing and turning.
If only rocks could talk.
The writer is a media expert, freelance journalist and the host of Reality Bytes Radio.