(February 16, 2022 / JNS) In recent weeks, the hills of Samaria have been headline-making flashpoints in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Jan. 24, local residents stoned Palestinian cars and businesses, injuring three, in the roadside town of Huwara, awakening outrage over “settler violence.” On Feb. 8 in Nablus (Shechem), the Israeli army shot and killed in broad daylight three Palestinians wanted by Israel for terrorist activity. But the very next day, at a community center in the city of Ariel, a Palestinian “shot” at Israelis—with words meant to create peace, no matter how hard they were for some to hear.
In a presentation organized by Roots (“Shorashim” in Hebrew), an organization officially founded in 2014 to foster dialogue between Palestinians and Jews living in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, the group’s official speaker Noor A’wad shared his tale of how he went from denying and hating Israelis to empathizing with and recognizing their side of the story. Sporting a faux Western look with black Adidas sneakers and stone-washed jeans, A’wad explained how his grandparents were forced to flee their home in Malha, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, during the 1948 War of Independence to eventually settle in Bethlehem, where A’wad experienced the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005 as a young adult.
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