For years the Druze in Pekiin have been harassing, assaulting, robbing and burning out Jews there. Druze bandits in masks routinely attacked, robbed and assaulted Jews around Pekiin. The policy of the police has been to turn a blind eye to what has been happening. It was only when the Druze attacked corporate property in the form of a cell phone antenna that the police finally intervened by attempting to arrest those responsible.
The arrest however turned into a full fledged fight, the details of which are widely being underreported and understated. When the police arrived, they were met by armed masked Druze. In the process of the fighting, twenty-seven police were injured and an Israeli policewoman was captured and taken hostage and exchanged for one of the bandits that had been captured by the police. (Note this, the police actually negotiated with bandits and made an exchange.) As of now none of the bandits are under arrest.
The situation in Pekiin is part of the larger problem in the Galilee where an effective Arab majority has turned the Galilee into the poorest area in Israel. Arab banditism has made running most kinds of businesses virtually impossible. The Druze are notorious for stealing everything not nailed down and even stealing signs that warn against stealing.
Attacks on cell phone antennas, satellite dishes and communication arrays of all kinds have become common in the Galilee. The usual stated reasons involve radiation. The real reason is that they allow for a greater range of communication for Jews living there, which introduces the reach of law into lawless Druze areas.
Where in Amona however the police replied to civil disobedience with ruthless force, Ehud Olmert is already meeting with the Mayor of Pekiin to "repair Jewish-Druze ties" even though it is undeniable that the riots and attacks occurred with the direct complicity and approval of the Mayor of Pekiin. Not only has the media demonstrated its usual biases describing the whole incident as a riot over an environmental problem (this is the same press that insists the French riots are caused by unemployment) but the government quickly rushed its own spin machine into action, saving face regarding the hostage situation and exchange with a variety of stories that attempt to put a better face on the whole thing.
The Jewish home that was set on fire is not being reported in the press, nor the fact that this has been part of a campaign of Druze harassment against Jews there. The rock throwing attacks on ambulances also go unmentioned. In this case it's actually Haaretz and Israel Harel who speak the truth about what's going on (I hestitate to link to Haaretz because the site is spyware infected so caution is urged)
But a few years later, their survival antenna picked up an unequivocal message: Israel is ready to withdraw from the Golan. The fear that the Syrians would settle the score with those who allied themselves with Israel led them yet again to transfer their loyalty, resulting in the large, sometimes violent rallies of solidarity with Syria.
As long as the Druze antenna perceived that the government was in control of the Galilee, the Druze villages remained calm. This changed once they concluded that Israel had failed - and therefore given up - its goal to establish a Jewish majority in the Galilee, and was incompetent to act against the Arabs' taking over state lands.
The violence in Peki'in is the beginning of the process of Druze extremists imitating the Arab separatists.
The complaints against the police, which were broadcast incessantly and which indirectly justify the violence, have proved to those orchestrating the riots that the bait - that the violence was directed against the antenna, i.e. for health reasons - had indeed been swallowed. So much so that one of the significant events in Peki'in has hardly been brought to the public's attention: the rioters burned down one Jewish family's house and wrecked another. The family found refuge with their Druze neighbors, with all the associations and fears that this evoked. Other families fled. The police, which had already left the village, did not heed the pleas of the hiding Jews and refused to reenter ("to avoid inflaming emotions") to extract them.
"We were attacked because we are Jews," said one of those who fled, who requested not to release his name. "I fear the Jewish families will be afraid to return, putting an end to 2,000 years of consecutive Jewish settlement in Peki'in."
The media, which already knew of this event in the morning, left it out of their reports. They also treated the abduction of a policewoman and her release - in exchange for detained rioters - as a marginal event. Instead, they ceaselessly rehash the police response.
Thus far this piece in Haaretz is the only article in the press that describes what is actually going on in the Druze areas.
More disturbingly what Iser Harel points out is that we're seeing more of the "Price of Peace" and the "Price of Disengagement." As Israel has kept signaling to Syria and the world that it is willing to make concessions, this has created instability even in traditional Arab allies. After all if Israel is willing to give up, it's time for them to make their own separate deals. Every time Israel makes a peace deal or proposal, Israel undermines its hold even over supposedly "Safe" Arab areas.
Furthermore the premise of Disengagement was to throw Jews out of Gaza and send them on to the Galilee instead, surrendering Gush Katif to Palestinian Arabs in exchange for their violence while taking over in the Galilee instead.
Not only did this not bring peace to Gaza or the surrounding areas. Instead it only further destabilized the Galilee, turning the Galilee that much closer to Gaza. The message to the Druze is that if they want anything, they need to riot and fight Israel. Message received.
Even among supposedly right wing Jews there is the myth of the loyal Druze. The reality is that the Druze are only an Arab faction which chose to make a deal with Israel, much the way that the Sunni terrorists have now made a deal with the Americans in Iraq and are suddenly our best friends, even though they were planting IED's a month ago. The Surge worked, not because it was a brilliant tactic move or because it changed the strategic situation, but because America demonstrated its commitment to remaining in Iraq and piling force on force. And when you conduct a show of force, a deal often gets made. Particularly when it's to their benefit.
The Shiites in Lebanon who are now our worst enemies used to be our allies too. That's long gone now. When American soldiers went into Iraq, it was the Shiites too who cheered them on. Now it's the Shiites who are killing American troops. This is the reality of the Middle East. There are no friends, only allied factions. There are no stable deals, only temporary arrangements. That was why the peace plans are always doomed to fail.
By neglecting to show mastery in Israel, the government shows weakness and that weakness will be taken advantage of. It is not the use of force that alienates the Druze, it is a lack of authority and will. In Israel there are two choices, to either show force or to repeat the history of Hevron and Amsterdam by running to hide in their neighbor's homes in the hopes that their lives will be spared.
Israel can only survive as a Jewish state. The disasters of the last two decades have occurred precisely because Israel has forgotten this.