In a turn of events which doesn’t bode well for their mission of coexistence, a group of nine Jewish Israeli peace activists were evacuated from the de-facto Palestinian capital city of Ramallah on Wednesday night after residents set their car on fire.
The activists belong to the leftist group “Two States, One Homeland” and deliberately entered Ramallah in order to join Palestinian activists in a Ramadan iftar break-fast meal, said the IDF. The visit violated a military order which forbids Israeli citizens from entering West Bank towns located in the Palestinian Authority-controlled Area A.
When locals realized the activists were Israeli, they attacked the group with rocks and firebombs and one of their cars was set ablaze, leading to a hasty extraction of the group.
Eight of the activists left Ramallah through the Qalandia crossing, and the ninth was rescued by Palestinian Security Services. He was detained and questioned before being handed over to Israeli control near the Beit El checkpoint, Ynet reported.
The group’s response was subdued. In a statement, the organization noted, “It appears one of our vehicles was set on fire and was slightly damaged while it was empty.”
The statement went on to defend the Palestinian security forces, saying, “The Palestinian security services quickly took control of the incident and helped us file a complaint.”
Despite media reports, which suggested the activists had made a lucky escape, the group insisted that “at no point did we feel threatened and our Palestinian friends were horrified by the incident.”
The IDF said that the nine are currently under investigation for violating the military order to stay out of Area A.
“Two States, One Homeland” calls for “the establishment of two sovereign states in one, open, land”, with citizens from both states able to live in either one while retaining their nationalities. Under its vision, Jerusalem would be a bi-national capital for both countries, and all holy sites would be jointly managed by “representatives of the different religions”.