Four residents of the Palestinian town Wadi Nis were released by Palestinian Authority officials Monday after four days of detention for attending a Jewish celebration of the Sukkot holiday.
The men were arrested last Wednesday for attending a reception in Efrat, the Jewish town bordering Wadi His approximately 15 kilometers south of Jerusalem. The reception was hosted by Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, and attended by senior military and police commanders in the Judea and Samaria region.
Speaking to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) on condition of anonymity, several residents of Efrat and other Jewish communities in the area said Israeli officials, including security officers, played a significant role in obtaining the mens’ release.
On the other hand, residents also pointed sharp criticism at the Israeli left-wing, saying groups like B’tselem, Meretz and Physicians for Human Rights that are normally quick to denounce Israel for violating Palestinian rights were uncharacteristically silent in the current instance.
“I contacted every member of the Meretz Party to get them to press the PA to release them,” said Dr. Yitzhak Glick, a resident of Efrat and member of Shorashim/Judur, a local co-existence group that brings Jews and Palestinians from the Gush Etzion region together. “Zahava Gal-on was the only one to respond, and even she wrote me a formalistic note that she would try to ‘do something’, but nothing more.
“Even Gershon Baskin, who’s got top-level contacts throughout the Palestinian world and goes around the world crowing about how he negotiated the deal for Gilad Shalit’s release, told me there was nothing he could really do. So I have to ask – where were B’tselem, Human Rights Watch and the rest of the groups that are normally so concerned with Palestinian rights?” Glick steamed.