Radical settlers punch themselves in the face, blame others

Posted: June 3, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Own Articles, Palestinians, West Bank

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WEDNESDAY HAD SEEN outburst of violence by radicals among Israeli Jewish settlers in the West Bank. According to news reports, settlers stoned several Palestinian vehicles and torched a small portion of a Palestinian field (report says the fire was extinguished quickly).

It is stunning how misguided some of those people are. While the attackers are usually youths – just like Palestinian youths who rioted and stoned Jews during the Second Intifada – some adults support this behavior. For example, one of the leaders of radical movement, Daniela Weiss. I still remember the images seen on TV several months ago, during Hebron riots between Palestinians and Jewish settlers. Weiss, instead of trying to make the youths stop the violence, spent her time in front of TV crews’ cameras, explaining how justified these actions are. She did this more than once.

And you know what? In many cases it is justified. While the press rarely reports this, Palestinians riot just as much as the settlers are, just in different sectors. In Hebron, for example, the soldiers tell me Palestinians throw just as many stones as the Jews; during the first years of the intifada, Hebron’s Jewish quarter had seen hundreds of cases of attacks on Jews, including rioting, terror attacks and murder.

The politics, however, are not different from driving here: don’t be on the side of righteousness – be smart instead. While number of Palestinian riots seems to subside, Jewish riots are on the rise, particularly on the issue of illegal outposts. The outposts – first constructed as a response to Palestinian terror (as in, the more they attempt to kill us, the more we will fight them by taking land), now see Netanyahu’s government rising against them, particularly due to Barack Obama’s pressure. Each time one of those is destroyed, the settlers return days – or hours – later and rebuild it.

If, however, it is that easy to rebuild an outpost, why the violence during the removal? And more importantly – what good does violence to support the Jewish enterprise in the West Bank? This is the Middle East – you can barely have anything without violence; yet, is using force against the troops and Palestinian civilians is a good way out?

This problem haunts Israeli Right as a ghost. For years (including now) Israelis supporting Right wing ideology – even the officials – are not able to speak to their audience in a correct manner. Each settler interviewed by the press goes on and on about Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) and how it is important to Judaism. What they fail to grasp, however, is that Israel is a secular country. Even its builders and creators – having much respect to Judaism and the Torah – were secular people. The Right was never able to comprehend this axiom, mostly employing religious rhetoric, oblivious to the fact that for most Israelis such declarations are irrelevant.

Instead of being smart – using your skills in order to pass your point along – the settlers play stupid, stoning people.

The Bible says that Abraham visited the city of Sodom, to visit his nephew, named Lot. When the God saw the lawlessness and perversion within this city, he pledged to destroy it with all its inhabitants. Abraham then turned to him and asked if God would still do it if he could find several dozens of righteous men within city limits. God answered him that in this case the city would be spared. Abraham then “bargained down” God to ten righteous men – in which case, the latter said, the city would be spared.

I cannot help but see analogy here. What if the family, whose car was stoned by the extremists, actually wanted to live in peace with Israel? What if the man, whose field was burned, was ready to live within Israel, or maybe even was a Christian believing in Jewish God? Wasn’t they worth sparing in the name of the Torah – the book settlers believe in so much?

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