Posts Tagged ‘Jewish setlers’

Licence to kill

October 15, 2008
Jewish settler fanatics continue to kill and steal from Palestinians without censure from Israel, writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank

Al- Ahram Weekly, 9-15 October 2008

Israeli security circles have warned recently that “organised Jewish terror” against Palestinians (and also against peace-oriented Jews) is on the rise and that steps must be taken to “nip that terror in the bud”.

However, Israeli officials, including Defence Minister Ehud Barak, have admitted that “confronting the settlers” is an uphill struggle, given the wide support they receive in Israeli-Jewish society and the strong political backing they enjoy from powerful government circles.

Barak also alluded to the shocking laxity shown by the Israeli justice system towards the settlers, which effectively allows them to commit acts of murder and vandalism, especially against unprotected and near helpless Palestinian villagers, with virtual impunity.

The ultimate goal of the settler terrorists is to intimidate and terrorise indigenous Palestinians into leaving their land so that more settlers can take it over. However, despite years of permanent terror and harassment, very few Palestinians if any have left their villages and land, prompting the mostly religious terrorists to intensify their attacks against Palestinians and their property.

In recent days, armed settler terrorists have stepped up acts of arson and vandalism targeting Palestinian olive groves throughout the West Bank. In the Nablus and Salfit region, settlers set fire to olive groves, destroying large swathes of the crop upon which the livelihood of numerous impoverished Palestinian families depends.

In one incident, the head of a settlement council took part in an arson attack that Palestinians contend happened in full view of Israeli army troops.

“I think there is a sort of collusion between the army and the settlers. Do you believe that the mighty Israeli army can’t control a few thugs who are terrorising Palestinian communities here?” asked Ibrahim Ahmed of Salem near Nablus.

“The world is often under the false impression that the settlers are a few unruly fanatics in an otherwise civilised society,” Ahmed continued. “The truth of the matter, however, is that the settlers are a key tool of the Israeli state and army to terrorise and torment the Palestinians. It is the state and the army that give them money, housing, weapons and protection. So it is naïve to buy the claim that the settlers are acting against the will of the Israeli state and army.”

Last week, a young Palestinian shepherd was found murdered next to a Jewish colony, also in the Nablus region. Eyewitnesses reported that they saw a white van chasing the 19-year-old man. The Israeli army denied that the boy was murdered by settlers, saying it was more likely that he was killed by unexploded ordnance left by the Israeli army.

Last month, dozens of armed Jewish settler terrorists committed a virtual pogrom at the Palestinian village of Asira Al-Qibliya south of Nablus, shooting into Palestinian homes and vandalising property. Ten Palestinians were injured, including one sustaining serious gunshot wounds. A videotape of the wild rampage showed Israeli soldiers looking on and doing virtually nothing to stop the settlers. When the “story” died down, the settlers resumed their violence and vandalism.

In recent years, settlers have resorted to stealing Palestinian olive crops in broad daylight. Settlers have also begun to bring in foreign workers to harvest Palestinian groves in the vicinity of their settlements. In doing so, settlers act on religious edits issued by local and national rabbis allowing them to steal crops in the West Bank, which the settlers call Judea and Samaria, believing that the land belongs to the Jews by a divine decree.

Until recently, rabbis issued their edicts publicly, drawing bad publicity from the press. Now, however, the edicts are issued and circulated quietly through local synagogues in the settlements.

In addition, the Israeli army seems to always find new ways to make life more difficult for Palestinian farmers. Many olive groves surrounding illegal Jewish settlements are declared closed military zones (only for non-Jews), which in effect is a green light for settlers to come and to steal Palestinian olives.

Last week, the Israeli army said it would provide “protection” to Palestinian olive-pickers from settler violence. However, the army said the duration of protection would only last three days.

The Israeli army claims it is unable to rein in terrorist settlers. This claim, however, is starkly mendacious and hypocritical. The truth is that the army lacks the will and inclination to confront the settlers.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week commented: “Military jails are packed with young Palestinians convicted of far less serious crimes than the violent acts of which the settlers are accused.” Yet generally speaking, the Israeli public is indifferent to the terror, murder and harassment wreaked by army-backed Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Now, however, settler terror is boomeranging back on Israeli-Jewish society. Last month, suspected Jewish terrorists placed a bomb at the doorstep of 73-year-old Zeev Sternhell, a political science professor at Hebrew University in West Jerusalem. Sternhell, an expert on the evolution of European fascism, was slightly injured in the incident that sent shockwaves across the Israeli political establishment and public.

Sternhell, a prominent supporter of the centre-left group “Peace Now”, warned that the attempt on his life might mark the “collapse of democracy” in Israel. However, it is unlikely that the attempted assassination of Sternhell will introduce a qualitative change into the way the Israeli army and public relate to settler terrorists. Something much more would be required to break down the institutionalised, studied racism and violence at the core of the state of Israel.

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