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Sunday, December 18, 2016 

Arabic neighborhoods in Judea/Samaria becoming ghost towns

At a time when Amona is facing a terrible situation of eviction, it's interesting to note that there's a different scene taking place in Arabic villages around the same area:
Media reports about the Arab struggle to retrieve the lands of Amona has been presented by politicians and the media as part of an Arab tradition of loyalty to their land.

Indeed, one of the Arab claimants against the Amona community has been quoted as saying, "If your child dies, you can make another one in his place, but land that you sold cannot be replaced."

And yet, a report in Friday's Makor Rishon suggests reality on the ground in Judea and Samaria reflects a somewhat different set of values. Local Arabs may not be willing to sell their land, but many of them don't live on said land either, preferring instead to emigrate to the US.

According to reporter Assaf Gibor, Route 60, which runs from Afula, on Israel's side of the "green line" through Jenin, near Shechem, through Ofra and outside Ramallah to Jerusalem and then through Gush Etzion, past Hebron all the way to Be'er Sheva, features ghost villages on either side of the highway. The Jewish settlers of Ofra and Amona have been wondering what has happened to neighboring Arab villages such as Silwad, three miles from the main road and about 8 miles north-east of Ramallah. A visitor happening inside the village can see numerous, luxurious villas, that are deserted.

Gibor, who describes those empty homes as "white elephants," met in Silwad a man in his 79s named Salah, who sat with him over a cup of coffee and revealed that he's been living in Puerto Rico for 52 years. Having left in 1964, before the Israeli liberation of 1967, Salah got his BA in Puerto Rico and MA in Tennessee, and now he is retired and living off his rental property on the island. His children were born in the US, one is a lawyer, the other a pharmacist, both Harvard graduates. Sadly, they've only visited the old country once – but both speak Arabic.

Hamza Awada, 21, who lives with his parents in Arizona, met Gibor in Dir Dibwan, not far from Silwad. He is visiting to conclude a two-year wife search. It's an arranged marriage, and after the wedding the happy couple will move to America. Hamza has lived in New York City and in Arizona, as well as in Jordan. "Life here in the village is quaint, but it's not for me."
Wow. Even some very fancy houses are left behind as many Arabs/Muslims clearly don't find life there appealing. And if that be the case, what's the point of trying to "help" them reconquer Jewish land when they don't even care about it?

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