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Is the Palestinian social fabric at risk of tearing?

A recent local incident on the West Bank required the attention of the national leadership to tamp it down, leading some to wonder it if portends trouble ahead for the Palestinian social fabric, which has to this point been distinguished by its unity.

Amid economic pressures and political uncertainty in Palestine, a small personal altercation became a much larger episode requiring high-level political intervention to keep the local incident from turning into a national conflict. Such events are especially troubling in cases that expose religious differences and leave minority communities feeling vulnerable, as recently happened in Jifna, a predominantly Christian village of some 3,000 people north of Ramallah.

Hanan Rafidi, driving with her children in Ramallah on April 24, found herself in a traffic altercation and roadside incident involving a young man, Ayham Rizeq, who allegedly pushed Rafidi and verbally insulted her. Rafidi filed a complaint at the local police station that resulted in Rizeq's arrest at his home.

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