After reading an account
of settlers attacking the IDF, I sent the following letter to the Jerusalem Post:
"Sir, I call on the leadership in Yesha [Judea and Aza] to condemn these people who are nothing less than criminals. They have completely forgotten that religious Jews do not behave like that. These people are causing damage to the cause of Israel and the cause of the community of Yesha. It is time to stand up against them and to show the rest of Israel they do not represent the Yesha community. I would like the JPost not call them settlers, but Jewish militants. Settlers are Zionists who came to settle the land of Israel and to defend it, they do not attack the soldiers who are defending us "
This Shabbat a Palestinian stabbed a 9-year old boy in Yitzhar in his home, after which Jewish inhabitants of Yitzhar went on a rampage in the neighboring Arab village in which 8 Palestinians were wounded.
It is obvious that the situation in some areas in the West Bank is deteriorating. On the website of Israel -Facts Dutch monitor group we have been monitoring events in the West Bank for some time now. From the data we are collecting there evolves a picture of some very problematic areas, one of them Yitzhar. From these data we also learn that most of the reported incidents do not make it to mainstream media. In fact only the incidents like the one this Shabbat are reported. From our data we also learn that there are more Palestinian incidents against Jews than the other way around.
The same one-sided reporting accounts for the so-called "camera" incidents. From our own investigations we learn that these incidents are filmed at the moment of response to the original provocation. Like the incident on Shabbat also, some six weeks ago in Har Hebron the media reported that "settlers" set on fire a Palestinian field and also abused an arrested Palestinian in the presence of IDF soldiers. From further investigation we learned that it was the Palestinians who set the Jewish orchard on fire (not surprisingly for us because all the Jews living there are observant and would never make a fire on Shabbat) after which the Jews living there took revenge - this part was filmed.
We also learned that activists from leftist organizations like B'Tselem and Peace Now are fanning the flames in the West Bank. Their goal seems to be to provoke as many possible incidents in very sensitive areas like Hebron and Ni'ilin. They also publish mostly biased reports about events in the West Bank, apparently with the goal of further de-legitimating Jewish settlements there. The focus seems to have shifted from demonstrations to violent acts against IDF forces and Jews living in the West Bank.
On the right, groups of activists in the West-Bank are becoming ever more radicalized. This trend started in the period leading up to the Gaza withdrawal in which some 8000 Jews were uprooted from their settlements and then were confronted by an unfinished resettlement process . It has left many feeling that the government neglected their needs to find new housing and resume earning a living
There is a great deal of frustration and anger among these groups and some of them do not consider themselves citizens of the state of Israel anymore. They feel abandoned by the state and have suffered a serious setback in their messianic belief that the state of Israel is a vehicle for the coming redemption.
In fact on a recent tour which I made through Shomron (Samaria), I myself encountered the feeling of being alone with hundreds of Palestinians around me on the roads. The army is hardly visible on these roads, most roadblocks are gone (likewise in Yehuda (Judea) too) and this caused me to end up in central Tulkarm, because the only checkpoint I passed on this trip was manned by a soldier who was busy doing some sport exercises and did not pay attention. Happily, in Tulkarm nobody paid attention either so we sneaked out to wake up the soldiers at the checkpoint.
Now that we know all these facts it should caution us not to jump to conclusions. It is indeed a very complicated matter, and reported facts are often dubious claims. Life in the West Bank has become increasingly difficult. However, does that justify the violent acts that the Jerusalem Post described in its report?
The answer is simply "NO!" There is no justification for attacking soldiers of the IDF and there is no justification for taking matters in your own hands even when you encounter a situation such as occurred at Yitzhar this last Shabbat.
For me as a religious Jew living on the West Bank, it is very hard to understand how it is possible that fellow religious Jews who are very well aware of Jewish history and Jewish law (which is binding) can come to acts like the attack on the reserve soldiers. Just this Shabbat I was reading the book Em Baniem Smecha, written by Rabbi Shlomo Techttal about The land of Israel, redemption and unity. This rabbi, who was murdered in a train on his way to Auschwitz because he defended a fellow Jew against cruelties from the SS, should be an example for Israelis today for his ability to learn from past mistakes and reverse his opinions.
A staunch opponent of the Zionist movement before WW2, he became to the conclusion that he himself and many Jewish leaders in Europe had made a disastrous mistake by opposing Zionism and he decided to write a book about his errors in which he advocated the return to Israel and the unity of the Jewish people.
Here's an example of what he wrote about unity, based on what Chazal (our sages of blessed memory) stated about the wars of Ahab and Saul. "They said that '[king] Achav's generation won its wars even though the people were idolaters ,because there was peace and harmony among them. [King] Saul's generation on the other hand lost its wars though the people were guiltless, because there were slanderers among them who instigated arguments.' Hence my friends, do not believe those who attempt to break Israel's cohesiveness by saying that it is impossible and dangerous to unify all segments of Israel."'
In our time we face the same dangers from within, and I believe they are bigger threats to our existence then the proxy armies of Iran on our northern and southern border. The IDF is in the territories to combat our enemies and to protect the Israeli people. It is therefore a heinous crime to attack soldiers of the IDF, no matter what.
Those who think that the zealots' way of dealing with our problems is the only way out should remember the last time that this strategy was tried, it resulted in 1900 years desolation of the land and the people of Israel.
Resident of Efrat (Gush Etzion)
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Replies: 3 Comments
Can you please explain how activists from B'tselem or Peace Now are fanning the flames and provoking violence? What is your evidence? I find absolutely nothing in major or minor media alleging such incidents.
Chaim, Thursday, October 2nd
When the IDF allowed itself to become the instrument of exiling Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel, they showed themselves to no longer be friends and protectors of the Jewish people. If Jews, in Shomron or elsewhere, are to defer to these people, it is a matter of political expediency and not a matter of respect or religion: The IDF do not deserve respect, because they are collaborators with the enemies of the Jews. That said, I notice that the "settlers" have been condemned for injuring Arabs; whereas the killing of a Jew by those Arabs (whom the IDF failed to protect him against) was dealt with lightly. Religion is one thing. Cowardice and hypocrisy is another.
Michael A. Shoemaker, Thursday, October 2nd
"We also learned that activists from leftist organizations like B'Tselem and Peace Now are fanning the flames in the West Bank."
How exactly do they do that?
"Their goal seems to be to provoke as many possible incidents in very sensitive areas like Hebron and Ni'ilin."
Only if the presence of Jews who oppose the settlements are something that provokes settlers to violence. Neither Peace Now nor Betselem encourage violence by its members, by Arabs or by Jews.
B'tselem is an organization that seeks to inform the Israeli public of human right violations occuring in the West Bank and perpetuated by the Israeli army or citizens. Nor do they fabricate evidence themselves. At worst they can be faulted for taking the word of their Palestinian informers without doubt, and for dealing with human right violations while ignoring any context (terorism etc.).
Peace Now is an organization that rightly opposes the settlement project. For this purpose they collect information about the extent of the settlements and they sometimes go to the Occupied Territories to protest or just to look around. At worst they can be faulted (or some of them) for holding a prejudiced view of settlers that goes beyond the strong ideological disagreement, and for sometimes being blind of the complexity of the situation. I would also fault them for not fighting harder against the settlements and thus allowing them to grow into the political problem hey pose today.
Micha, Monday, September 15th
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