Wednesday, February 05, 2014

  • Wednesday, February 05, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Once in a while private Gaza businessmen meet Israelis . Some of them need to import goods to Gaza; sometimes COGAT arranges for them to attend trade shows or training.

A couple of days ago, at one of these meetings, an apparent Israeli soldier hugged and effusively greeted many of the Arabs from Gaza that he knew.


Arabs could not stand the idea of an Arab hugging an Israeli.

The video spread on Arab social media, "causing great resentment among activists who said this is normalization that should not happen."

Some activists - and journalists - called for the businessmen to be put on trial, and for the Gaza government to make these sorts of meetings illegal.

The PA Ministry of Civil Affairs, which helped organize the meeting, was caught on the defensive. They confirmed the meeting, which was held at the Erez crossing, saying that it was a business meeting to debate the problems of the Gaza Strip and the issues of the blockade of the introduction of construction materials and oil and gas and food, and that this video misrepresents the atmosphere.

Maher Abu Alouf, Director General of the Ministry of Civil Affairs said that these meetings are publicly known but are not friendly nor are they a form of normalization, and he expressed disapproval of the misrepresentations by some activists and the media.

Ali Al-Hayek is the person seen hugging the uniformed Israeli. He is one of Gaza's most prominent representatives of the Palestinian private sector. Hayek claimed that the person he embraced was retired from the army, and that it was strange that the media showed footage of them being civil to each other but did not show footage of the arguments by Palestinians for the introduction of the materials to the Gaza Strip, in full coordination between the private sector and governments in Ramallah and Gaza.

"Normalization" is one of the worst things Arabs can accuse each other of.

Think about that for a while.


UPDATE: The soldier is General Eithan Dangot of COGAT who is retiring, this was a lunch in his honor. (h/t Yenta Press)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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