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January 09, 1987 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-09

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fter 20 years of living under
Israeli occupation, few Pal-
estinians in the West Bank and
Gaza would claim that some of their
best friends are Jews.
The level of debate between the two
people remains a dialogue of the deaf;
a dialogue that was given eloquent
expression in the exchange of stones and
bullets between Palestinian students
and Israeli soldiers on a West Bank
campus earlier this month.
"The real friendships with Palestin-
ians are those that transcend
politics," says Dr Susan
Rolef, editor of the Israeli
Labour Party journal Spec-
trum. "It doesn't happen
often and most Israelis don't
let it happen. They see it
leading to mixed marriages
or treachery."
According to Abdel Wahab
Darousha, one of seven Arab
members of the Knesset, the
1.2 million Palestinians who
inhabit the West Bank are
not Israelis and do not aspire
to become Israelis.
"They feel no loyalty
towards Israel and want no
cooperation or coexistence
with it," he says. "They want
only to free themselves from
the Israeli occupation."
On the other hand, says
20 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and Darousha, who was elected to
the Knesset in 1984 on the
there are few signs of improved relations between Labour
Party ticket, the
who live
Jews and Arabs in the region. within the Arabs
Green Line —
Israel's pre-Six Day War
boundaries — are Israelis.
And, moreover, they are
"loyal citizens" who seek
coexistence and friendship
with their Jewish fellow
Unlike the Palestinians of
the West Bank and Gaza who
aspire to independent statehood, he
says, "we Israeli Arabs will continue to
be Israelis, whatever the ultimate solu-
tion to the Middle East conflict."
Dr. Hatem Abu-Ghazalah, a Cam-
bridge University-trained Palestinian
surgeon who lives in Gaza, concedes
that "there are plenty of superficial rela-
tions between Israelis and Palestinians.
"There is, for example, enormous
cooperation between Palestinian merch-
ants in Gaza and Jewish merchants in
Ashkelon; between underworld figures
in Gaza and their counterparts in Tel
Aviv," he says.
"But real personal friendships," says
Abu-Ghazala, who heads an organiza-
tion for handicapped children in Gaza,


Jews and Arabs
In the West Bank
and Gaza

It has been
Gaza, but

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