At the beginning of this month, a businessman from Hebron named Ashraf Jabari announced the formation of a new Palestinian political party, Reform and Development. Bassam Tawil describes its agenda, and the challenge it faces:
A member of a large Palestinian clan in the city, Jabari believes in economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence with his Jewish neighbors, including settlers living in the West Bank. Earlier this year, Jabari and some of his Jewish friends launched a new economic initiative to advance joint entrepreneurship between Israelis and Palestinians there.
[The new party] calls for focusing on economic prosperity for Palestinians. One would expect a message like that to be welcomed by Palestinians. Here is a man who is talking about helping his people put food on their tables. [But] some Palestinians have waged a massive smear campaign against him, with many denouncing him as a “traitor” and “collaborator” with Israel and Jews. Other Palestinians have even gone so far as to call for his arrest or execution.
The campaign against the Palestinian businessman reached its peak on May 13, after he hosted at his home several Jews for the Ramadan break-the-fast meal, iftar. It is not unusual for Muslims to host non-Muslims for the iftar meal. In this instance, however, Jabari seems to have invited the “wrong” guests: Jews. . . . In the face of the widespread protests [that followed], Jabari’s own clan was forced publicly to denounce and disown him. . . .
The yet-to-be revealed American peace plan, Tawil notes, is reported to involve channeling billions of dollars into the West Bank and Gaza, in order to bring the sort of material improvements Jabari speaks of. It is thus not a promising sign that Jabari’s “talk of ‘economic prosperity’ for Palestinians has turned him into a public enemy.” Indeed, Tawil concludes, “no Palestinian leader has the stomach to face the threats that Jabari is currently confronting.”
Read more on Gatestone: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14236/palestinians-oppose-economic-prosperity