Menu JTA Search

A new Jenin?

Better known as a breeding ground for terrorists and suicide bombers, the West Bank city of Jenin as become a testing ground for a new kind of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, The New York Times Reports:

Newly trained and equipped Palestinian security officials have restored order. Israeli soldiers have pulled back from bases and are in close touch with their Palestinian colleagues. Civilians are planning economic cooperation — an industrial zone to provide thousands of jobs, mostly to Palestinians, and another involving organic produce grown by Palestinians and marketed in Europe by Israelis. Ministers from both governments have been visiting regularly, often joined by top international officials. Israeli Arabs are playing a key role.

The aim is to stand conventional wisdom on its head. Instead of a shaky negotiated peace treaty imposing coexistence from the top down, a bottom-up set of relationships that lock the two societies together should, proponents argue, lead to a real two-state solution.

“We got a clear American message that the Palestinian state will start from Jenin,” asserted Col. Radi Asideh, the deputy commander of the Palestinian security forces here who have recently received new Land Rovers and AK-47 assault rifles. “The plan is to have a security model that can then be implemented all over Palestine.”

Those may sound like the hopeful words of a credulous officer. But here is Gen. James L. Jones, special American envoy to the region in an interview this week after visiting Jenin: “I see this as a kind of dress rehearsal for statehood, a crucible where the two sides can prove things to each other.”

NEXT STORY