Has it come to this? The Israeli settler movement seems to have utterly lost its moorings and abandoned its senses. Echoing Joseph Welch in the McCarthy hearings, I can only say: “Have you no shame, at long last, have you no decency?”
Let’s take a look at the AP image and the cognitive dissonance it generates. First, we’re very familiar with seeing green-masked Palestinian activists doing the same thing that this settler is about to do: burn the Israeli flag. But what does seeing a settler do this mean? It means that the settlers, once the darlings of every Israeli government going back to 1967, have now utterly abandoned the State. They reject Israel. In this they are little different than our own U.S. home-grown terrorist groups like The Order and Aryan Nation, which see the U.S. government as an utter fraud. In effect, our terrorists make war on our state just as the settlers appear ready to do regarding the Israeli state. It is a deeply disturbing turn of events. I can only hope that Israel is prepared to deal harshly with such people in not allowing them to triumph in their utterly nihilistic goals.
So has it come to this–that the settlers are now enemies of the State? And should Israel see them as such and act towards them as such? I’m sorry to say that my answer to this is “yes.”
The settler pictured is protesting an impending government action to remove settlers from three Palestinian homes which they’ve taken possession of by bullying the families into abandoning them. The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected the claim of ownership of the homes and directed the IDF to remove them. And this is how the settlers repay the government.
Haaretz, in covering this story also notes a deeply disturbing addendum to it:
Jewish settlers from the Havat Maon settlement located south of Hebron hurled stones at Palestinian children making their way to school on Saturday morning. There were no reported casualties.
The schoolchildren, long-time and frequent targets of settler attacks, were being escorted by Israel Defense Forces soldiers when they came under attack.
The Moan settlers last week renewed their routine harassment of children from the Palestinian village of Khirbet Al-Tawani.
The IDF and police routinely provide a jeep in order to provide the Palestinian children protection from the settlers as they make their way to school.
Meanwhile, two police officers were lightly wounded Friday during confrontations with settlers in the Beit Shapira area of Hebron.
Settlers pelted policemen with eggs and officers have thus far arrested two settler youths in connection with the riot in the West Bank city.
One of the wounded officers absorbed a blow to the head from a bottle of paint thrown by one of the demonstrators. The other policeman was hit in the eye by an egg which was flung in his direction.
You’ll notice there is no mention of the sheer terror that the poor Palestinian schoolchildren must endure every day when they make there way to school. Imagine your own youth. Imagine you had to run such a gauntlet of hate every day you went to school. Imagine the impact that such hatred and violence would have upon you? How could any political or religious movement treat children in such a way? It is despicable. I do not say that the settlers have no right to protest or express their views. That would be wrong. But how in God’s name do they justify making children the target of their hate?