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Israeli-Palestinian solidarity overcomes politics

Despite voices on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict drumming up animosity toward the other side, there are many examples of people from both sides who see the other as human beings.
Women take part in a rally, the closing event of the March of Hope, a 2-week-long event organised by Women Wage Peace, a non-political movement calling for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and women's participation in such a solution, outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner - RTX2PJSP
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With cement walls and electric fences making a comeback, with the word “Muslims” becoming synonymous with terrorists, with racism enjoying a revival, the recommendation of the Talmud-era sage Hillel the Elder takes on new meaning: “In a place where there are no humans, one must strive to be human” (Pirkei Avit 2:5). It is harder, still, to be a decent human being — in Yiddish, a “mensch” — in a fraught relationship between occupiers and the occupied. Despite the abundance of vitriol injected into the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians by those at the apex of Palestinian and Israeli power, however, there are those who refuse to abandon their humanity.

One such person is Mohammed Jamal, from the West Bank village of Lubban al-Sharqiya, south of Nablus, who rushed to save the victims of a fatal bus crash Jan. 27 outside his house on a rainy winter night. Jamal and his family were the first to help the surviving Jewish passengers, who were on their way to a nearby settlement. In the days that followed, Israeli officers from the Central Command and Civil Administration called the Jamal family to express their gratitude. Capt. Sivan Raviv, the medical officer from the Binyamin Division who oversaw the rescue efforts, said that Jamal and his family arrived at the scene in their pajamas and carrying flashlights. “They didn’t stop to think or consider,” the officer said. “All they saw was the need to save lives.”

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