Ha'aretz has this story on a potentially significant meeting between Palestinians and Israelis in Hebron:
The heads of the largest Palestinian clans in Hebron met with the Kiryat Arba local council chief and prominent leaders of the Jewish community in Hebron on Wednesday in what both sides described as a meeting of reconciliation, Army Radio reported.
Sheikh Abu-Hader Ja'abri, the head of a prominent Palestinian clan and a relative of a former mayor of Hebron, and the head of the Abu Sneinah clan, Haj Akram Abu-Sneinah met with the head of the Kiryat Arba settlement council, Zvi K'tzubar, and the heads of Jewish settlers in Hebron.
The two sides declared their goal was to restore peace and security to the city, known to Jews as Hebron and to Palestinians as Al-Halil.
"We don't see you as settlers but as residents," Sheikh Ja'abri, the head of a prominent clan in Hebron, is quoted as telling his Jewish interolocutors. "Hebron is ours just as it is yours."
This is encouraging, and necessary. Considering the great significance of Hebron in Jewish history, it's unthinkable that Hebron should be prohibited for Jews, as it was under the Jordanian occupation, in the event of any settlement pull-out.
It must be noted that this sort of rapprochement, based on a mutual recognition of claims, is opposed by extremist elements on both sides of the conflict, neither of whom recognize the others' historic ties to the land, both of whom relentlessly appeal to the memory of the fallen to refuse any accommodation and to discredit moderates. An important difference, however, especially in regard to Hebron, as I reported last December, is that Palestinian extremism is condemned by Americans, whereas Israeli extremism is often praised and funded by them.
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