By Orit Arfa/JNS.org
Near the entrance to the city of Ariel in the heart of Samaria lies an Arab strip mall of sorts, where Jews and Palestinians alike can get fruits and vegetables, a car wash, pet supplies, hummus, and falafel. The former mayor of Ariel, Ron Nachman, used to joke that the area is Ariel’s “duty-free zone.” It’s located right on the border of Israeli-controlled and Palestinian-controlled territory, so no one really knows exactly to whom the shop owners pay taxes.
Abu Ali, a Palestinian man who owns the compound housing the businesses of the “duty-free zone,” isn’t interested in the results of Tuesday’s Israeli election. He only heard the news of the victory by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party from casual conversations. He’s more concerned with running the mini-empire he started in the 1960s.