By Andrew Friedman/TPS
Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, Dr. Yitzhak Glick and other residents of Gush Etzion expressed satisfaction Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority released four Arab residents of the village of Wadi Nis, but they added sharp criticism for Israeli and international NGOs that remained silent throughout the crisis.
Four residents of the Palestinian Authority village Wadi Nis, adjacent to Efrat, were arrested by Palestinian Authority officials last week for attending a reception marking the Jewish Succot festival in Efrat. The gathering was hosted by Revivi and attended by senior military and police commanders in the Judea and Samaria region.
Palestinian Authority officials initially said the men would be charged with “normalization with Israel,” considered a crime in the Palestinian Authority, but later statements indicated the men were being held in protective custody.
Speaking to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) by phone Tuesday, Revivi said Israeli officials were virtually the only voices that called for the men to be released. He noted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call on the international community to work to help free the men, and added that efforts to secure the mens’ release included senior IDF officers.
Revivi also said that several members of the US Congress and State Department did act to get the men released. But he, Netanyahu, Glick and others added that repeated pleas to foreign diplomats, Israeli left-wing groups and international organizations to intercede with the Palestinian Authority on behalf of the detained men fell largely on deaf ears.
“I contacted every member of Meretz and B’tselem 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 Arabs from the Gush Etzion region together. “Zahava Gal-on was the only one to respond, and even she only 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.TPS / Tazpit News Agency