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Why more Israelis are shying away from interaction with Palestinians

A new survey by the Israeli Democracy Institute reveals that Jewish Israelis perceive the violent conflict with the Palestinians as unrelated to the occupation.
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Last week, a small Palestinian delegation walked into the mourners’ tent of the Amar family in the Druze village of Julis. They shook hands with the relatives of Brig. Gen. Munir Amar, who was killed in a March 25 plane crash, and said that President Mahmoud Abbas had sent them to express his condolences for the tragic death of their loved one. This was not an insignificant event. Amar headed the civil administration in the West Bank and was the face of the Israeli occupation authorities. Part of his job was to sign off on orders for the demolition of Palestinian homes in Area C (under full Israeli control).

The visit was the latest in a series of recent gestures by the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah toward Israeli society. The others included friendly interviews with Abbas on Israeli media, an invitation from Abbas to opinion makers to dine with him at his headquarters, the Muqata, and joint activities with Israeli-Palestinian organizations such as the Geneva Initiative. At the same time, a public opinion poll indicates that Israeli Jews are still marching to the right — to the far right.

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