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Peace Among Friends? In Once Strife-Torn Hebron, Jews and Arabs Say it's Possible

Peace Among Friends? In Once Strife-Torn Hebron, Jews and Arabs Say it's Possible Read Transcript


- Hebron is often known

as one of the most volatilecities in the West Bank.

But here in what's also the most

prosperous Palestinian Arab city,

a different kind of peacebetween Israelis and Palestinians

is discussed on both sides.

Noam Arnon speaks for theJewish community in Hebron.

There are now how many Jewsliving in Hebron, approximately?

- Well, it's about 800.

- Surrounded by howmany thousands of Arabs?

- About 200,000 Arabs but you see

this is actually thesame percentage as Jews

in the Middle East.

- Those Jews live mostlyin a historic sector

separated from the Palestinian population.

Arnon took me to meethis friend Ashraf Ja'abri

in the Arab sector.

Ja'abri an Arab, the leader here

heads a powerful familyclan of some 30,000.

We're in Hebron, howlong have you lived here?

- [Interpreter] 43 years.

- Married?

- Yes.

- [Scott] One wife.

- One wife.

- How many children?

- Nine.

- Nine.- Nine, you look too young.

- I have only eight,

(laughs)

so has more reach than me.

- Ja'abri and Arnon hadbeen friends for 30 years.

After our initial exchange,Ja'abri preferred to speak

mostly in Hebrew.

You two are friends, you'rean Arab and he is a Jew.

- Yes.

- Why are you friends?

- [Interpreter] He's our neighbor.

- Neighbors.

- Yes.

- And you get along together.

- Yes.

- So it is possible for Jews and Arabs

to live together in friendshipwithout any conflict.

- [Interpreter] Yes, without any doubt.

30 years ago, we were working together

doing business together.

- Why don't more Jews andArabs live as you live

with your friend?

- [Interpreter] Becauseof the politicians.

- [Scott] More than 25 years ago,

Israel opened the door for Yasser Arafat

and the PalestinianLiberation Organization or PLO

from Tunis by recognizing themas the soul representative

of the Palestinian people in negotiation.

Arafat and then IsraeliPrime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

signed the Oslo Accords onthe White House lawn in 1993,

creating the PalestinianAuthority out of the PLO

to govern the Palestinians.

The aim, to end theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict

and eventually establisha Palestinian state

in Biblical Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Ja'abri says it hasn't worked.

- [Interpreter] The PLOsigned the Oslo agreements

25 years ago, until todaywe didn't reach peace,

it's the opposite.

We started with a very big problem.

- In the Oslo Accord,the Israeli government

have brought the PLO tocontrol the local population.

And they said you bringthose people the corrupted

and the terrorists to control us, why?

I feel ashamed about it.

We disappointed them, we betrayed them.

- What did the PLO think of you?

- [Interpreter] I don't carewhat the PLO thinks about me.

What's important for me ishow we can all live together

in this area in the State of Israel.

If we follow their way we won't have peace

even in the next 50 years.

- [Scott] And he says,there has to be another way.

- [Interpreter] How will we live together

under the government of Israel?

In the end, this is the only solution.

- Do you feel the Israelisare fair and they're just?

- [Interpreter] Basically, yes,but there's a huge pressure

on the Israeli government.

Before the Oslo Accords,the whole country was free

without checkpoints, without anything.

- So the Oslo Accordwas not a good accord?

- [Interpreter] No onefrom the two peoples

received anything.

- Have you been able toinfluence other Arabs

and other leaders to your way of thinking?

- [Interpreter] Yes, of course.

90% of the Palestinian people

are looking for their own future.

- Even though Ja'abri says the masses

want a change, saying sowould get them in trouble

with the Palestinian Authority.

Have your enemies threatened you?

- [Interpreter] We'renot afraid of anyone.

We speak from our hearts,we speak the truth.

- Do you have hope for thefuture for peace in the land?

- [Interpreter] Of course, there's hope

but we have to continue in the way

of real peace from both sides.

The problem between usis a political problem.

- Ja'abri who is a businessman

and other Palestinian-Israelibusinessmen have ideas

about how to make personto person relations work

and they want the world to help.

- [Interpreter] We establish anon-profit in Ariel, Samaria,

Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

We work together, we haveno problem with the Jews

in any place in the country,

in Tel Aviv or in the territories.

- [Scott] U.S. Ambassadorto Israel, David Friedmen

recently visited the Judea,Samaria Chamber of Commerce

and Industry in the city of Ariel

that Ja'abri helped found.

It's intended to developgreater economic opportunities

and integrated business models.

- [Interpreter] I'lltell you something more,

if someone threatens the situation,

I'll stand up for Noam and protect him.

I'm against all the troublemakersand will protect our area.

- He would protect Jews.

- Yes.

- Yes.

- Yes.

- [Interpreter] It's our culture.

He's my friend, I won'tbetray his life ever.

This is how I understand peace.

- [Scott] PresidentTrump has yet to unveil

his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

and it's unclear what it contains

but if it's up to Ja'abri and Arnon,

it will be a whole different ball game.

Scott Ross for CBN in Hebron.

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