The Flip-side of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What You Won’t Hear on JewTV

People often ask, upon reading such blog entries as this, whether or not I hate Jews. Or, after other posts, whether or not I hate Muslims. The answer is quite simple: I don’t hate anybody… I simply love truth. I seek it out and I long to share it, particularly when the media is telling the world only one side of the story.

While it’s no secret that I see more holes than fabric in every organized religion and make no apologies for unraveling them, I most assuredly do not dislike any individual for believing in or practicing their chosen faith. I look solely upon how that belief system shapes their character and the resulting manner in which they treat others.

Often, I find them using their religion as an excuse for committing the most horrible of acts, something which I abhor. I believe there is no greater sin than to blame one’s own God for the great atrocities which men inflict upon another… and I am without doubt that God agrees with me.

Here, then, is a report about what’s happening in The Settlements. Keep in mind, it is written by someone who is biased and bitter, but I’ll warn you not to discount it altogether, for the truth always lies somewhere in between.

Kristallnacht in Hebron – by Khaled Amayreh

Unconcerned about arrest by the police or prosecution by
the Israeli justice system, fanatical Jewish settlers
in the Palestinian town of Hebron (Al-Khalil) have been
attacking Palestinians, damaging and ransacking their
property, exactly like Nazi thugs did to Jewish-owned
property in Germany 80 years ago.

The settlers, who claim to be acting in the name of true
Judaism, espouse a messianic doctrine advocating violence
and terror against non- Jews in Israel-Palestine for the
purpose of creating a pure Jewish kingdom that would be
ruled by Halacha, or Jewish religious law.

The settlers, who represent the core of religious Zionism,
believe that the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in the Holy
Land will eventually usher the messianic age and accelerate
the appearance of the Jewish Messiah, or Redeemer, who
would bring about redemption for Jews and rule the entire
world from Jerusalem.

In recent weeks, these thugs have been attacking
Palestinian homes, smashing cars, vandalising property
and fostering a general atmosphere of fear and terror
throughout this town of nearly 200,000 people.

Al-Ahram Weekly has inspected the damage inflicted by
settlers and spoken with thoroughly terrorised victims
who complained that the Israeli authorities and army
were effectively giving the paramilitary terrorists a
carte blanche to terrorise Palestinians. “They [the
settlers] are Nazi, and if there was a stronger epithet,
I would not hesitate to use. You can’t imagine the
ugliness and brutality of their behaviour,” said Ahmed
Al-Jamal, a frequent target of settler terror and
vandalism.

“Every Friday night and Saturday, dozens of settlers,
including kids, descend on our neighbourhood to smash
our cars, windows and property and shout ‘Death to the
Arabs!’ This is their way of sanctifying the Sabbath
and pleasing God.”

Al-Jamal said dozens of settlers, some of them masked,
last week attacked his and his brother’s and neighbour’s
homes around 2.30am, smashing windows and windshields of
parked cars. “We informed the police, and the police told
us they would look into the matter. This is pretty much
what they have been telling us since 1970 when these
‘Nazis’ came to live here.”

Mohamed Daana, who lives in Wadi Al-Nasara, located just
south of the Jewish colony of Kiryat Arba, said he
submitted at least 500 complaints to the Israeli police
in a desperate effort to put an end to settler violence
and terror against him and his family.

“The last time I went to submit a police complaint in
Kiryat Arba one policeman took me to the next room and
told me ‘I want to advise you, there is no point in
submitting all these complaints. We simply can’t do
anything to help you. The settlers control the state
and the army can do little to protect you from them.'”
Asked what he would do next to protect his family, Daana
said, “I have no choice but to remain steadfast. A harmful
neighbour will either die or move away,” said Daana
quoting an old Arabic proverb.

Last week, dozens of young settlers, many of them wearing
masks and armed with submachine guns, rampaged through the
Khaled Ibn Al-Walid neighbourhood, not far from the colony
of Kiryat Arba. There the settlers, who reportedly were
dressed in religious attire, vandalised a Muslim cemetery
and scrawled the Star of David on Muslim graves.

On the walls of the Khaled Ibn Al-Walid Mosque, the
rampaging thugs scrawled the following phrase: “Mohamed
is a pig.” This is the new slogan the settlers are mouthing
to offend and provoke the Palestinians. The other slogan
is Mavet le Arabim or “Death to the Arabs!”

These obscenities are infuriating the Palestinians who
warned that settlers were trying to instigate a religious
war in the Middle East. “What does the Prophet Mohamed
have to do with the conflict? Why are they deliberately
provoking us? We have never, and never will speak ill of
their prophets and religious figures,” said Hassan Jaber,
a neighbour of the mosque.

“When someone touches a Jewish cemetery anywhere in the
world, the Jews make a big outcry about anti-Semitism.
But when Jews commit blasphemous acts against Islam and
Christianity, it is freedom of speech.”

This is not the first time self-righteous settlers, who
claim to be following the Torah, seek to offend Muslim
religious sensibilities. According to local Palestinians,
settlers have markedly escalated their anti-Islam
discourse, mainly by way of scrawling sacrilegious
epithets that are deeply offensive to the Islamic faith,
such as cursing the Arabic name of God (Allah) and the
Prophet Mohamed. Several years ago, a Jewish immigrant
from the former Soviet Union pasted on the doors of Arab
stalls and shops in downtown Hebron drawings depicting
the prophet of Islam as a pig writing the Quran.

Such sacrilegious acts generally go unpunished by the
Israeli government, allowing the settlers and their
supporters to feel powerful and immune from government
action.

The bulk of Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian
territories follow the teachings of Abraham Kook, the
first rabbi of Israel, who taught that Jews should seek
to expedite the appearance of the “redeemer” or Jewish
Messiah by way of carrying out acts of violence and
bloodshed. In 1994, a Jewish settler terrorist, an
American immigrant by the name of Baruch Goldstein,
murdered at least 29 Arab worshipers who as they were
praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Goldstein, who was eventually killed by survivors, became
a national hero among religious Zionists and Jewish
extremists in general, and his tomb in Kiryat Arba became
a pilgrimage site for religious Zionists from around the
world. The settlers adopt a manifestly genocidal ideology
with regard to how non-Jews living in Israel ought to be
treated.

This ideology, which settlers say is based on the Talmud
and is taught at the Mirkaz Harav religious Zionist college
in Jerusalem, and gives Palestinians in Israel-Palestine
three choices: first, comprehensive enslavement whereby
non-Jews, or goyem, would have to accept their inferior
status, second, outright expulsion, “lest they remain a
thorn in your side,” and third, Old Testament-style
physical extermination.

The settler community in Hebron is not large in terms of
numbers. According to Israeli government statistics, no
more than 500-600 settlers and Yeshiva (religious school)
students live in the old quarter of Hebron among the
town’s 180,000–200,000 Palestinian inhabitants. However,
thousands of Israeli soldiers and paramilitary troops
guard and protect the settlers around the clock, with the
chief method of protection taking the form of making large
parts of the town off-limit to Palestinians. In other
words, 200,000 are held hostage to the whims of 500-600
thugs who demand that non-Jews be enslaved, expelled or
exterminated.

Needless to say, this causes immense hardship to
Palestinian inhabitants whose freedom of movement and
economic activities are harshly restricted. In some cases,
a Palestinian living, say, in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi
Mosque, is forced to travel several miles in order to get
home from a nearby school or grocery store. The reason for
such draconian restrictions is to make ordinary life so
unbearable for ordinary Palestinians that they would leave
their homes “voluntarily” so that the settlers could then
seize them without the need of murdering the inhabitants.

As usual, the Israeli government continues to treat the
settlers with the greatest temerity, refusing to take
decisive action to stop their almost daily acts of violent
and terror against Palestinians.

There are three main reasons contributing to the soft-
glove policy towards the settlers. First, many of the
soldiers serving in the occupied territories, particularly
in the Hebron region, are themselves settlers and reluctant
to arrest their colleagues. After all, the soldiers and
settlers often have the same rabbi and attend the same
Yeshiva, and worship at the same synagogue. Moreover,
soldiers who are also settlers are effectively answerable
first and foremost to their local rabbis, and only
secondarily to their army superior. Second, the Israeli
state itself views the settlers as a strategic asset that
will prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state,
guaranteeing the continuity of Israeli control over the
West Bank. This is despite all official propaganda that
Jewish settler violence is carried out in spite of the
government. Third, the proximity of the upcoming Israeli
elections, slated to take place on 10 February, makes the
government, especially Defence Minister Ehud Barak (head
of the Labour Party), think twice before alienating the
settlers, even by carrying out High Court rulings.

Last week, the Israeli High Court ordered the state to
vacate Jewish settlers from an Arab building they had
seized after forging ownership documents. However, the
settlers and their supporters, including 48 Knesset
members (out of 120) and former ministers, vowed to
confront the army and police “be it as it may”. Moreover,
the settlers were planing to hold a large rally in Hebron
to protest against the court decision and to underscore
their determination to have their way.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, the godfather of Jewish
settlements in the West Bank who is falsely portrayed as
a man of peace, was quoted as saying during a visit to
London last week that “Israel will find it difficult to
evacuate the settlements without civil war.” Yossi Sarid,
a former minister, spoke of “a state within a state that
has arisen in the territories.”

Writing in Haaretz on 21 November, Sarid wrote, “a new
custom has come to the country: High Court rulings are
one thing, reality is another. One has not the slightest
thing to do with the other. The settlements and the out-
posts are planted firmly in place and refuse to be
uprooted; private land of Palestinians is being freely
stolen; whole neighborhoods born in sin are being
populated; homes that have been stolen are filled with
people; a brazen fence stands according to its original,
arbitrary plan with only minimal changes.”

Sarid’s remarks may even be an understatement of reality.

One noted Israeli journalist intimated to this writer last
week that Israel was facing two nightmarish scenarios in
light of the settlers’ determined refusal to leave the West
Bank: “We have two alternatives, either we go into civil
war or become a fascist or Nazi state. These two choices
are becoming starker with the passage of each day.”

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