The Israeli government finally did what it should have done months ago and forcibly evicted 200 hardline settlers from the House of Dispute in Hebron after the Supreme Court ruled that the building had been ‘appropriated’ from the Palestinian owner based on fraud. Settlers had turned the building into a virtual headquarters of resistance to Israeli state authority and a showcase for violent opposition to a Palestinian presence.
What seems truly pathetic to me is that this nation based on democracy seemed so tied up in knots when it came to confronting the threat posed by the settlers’ defiance. Where firmness and resolve were required, vacillation ruled. This is to be expected when so much of the state apparatus has actually aided and abetted these same settlers. It’s almost as if one hand helps them while the other hand tries to undo what the first hand has done. A recipe for confusion and indecision.
We can only be thankful that Ehud Barak, who usually deserves no praise, finally put a stop to this ridiculousness. Now, however, the extremists are running rampant in Hebron itself attempting to make the entire city ungovernable. This puts even greater pressure on the military to confront them and end the anti-Palestinian pogrom.
Everything about this settler movement should revolt reasonable Jews. They’ve appropriate the sacred suffering of Jewish history and used it for their own partisan political purposes. This is simply appalling to me as a Jew:
As Palestinians watched from rooftops and windows, some settlers shouted at the troops, calling them Nazis. A few had sewn yellow stars on their shirts, like Jews had been obliged to under Hitler. On a wall near the confrontation, Hebrew graffiti declared, “There will be a war over the House of Peace.”
“House of Peace” my arse. Whose peace is it. The peace of the thief, the racist, the interloper, the hooligan, the hater. What kind of peace is that? Peace based on oppression, domination and forced submission of the Palestinians to their will?
I find the image sickening as well. Not because the settler is resisting. She has every right. But putting her 12 year old daughter in a situation in which SHE could be hurt. It’s appalling. A 12 year old should never be put in physical danger even for the sake of political principle. This is yet again an example of the ways in which settler extremist exploit their children in a feeble attempt at national emotional blackmail.
This is a battle designed to benefit the settlers. They feel they win by losing. And it’s only a single battle in a long war. So make no mistake that this is a major victory. It’s only a small one. The Hebronistas will make the state pay a price every step of the way in this process. And if the IDF is not more decisive than it was in this case, the Israeli nation and its greater interests will be dominated by a small band of hardline anti-Palestinian zealots. That’s hardly democracy.
And we in the American Jewish community are also at fault as J Street points out in this statement:
Groups like the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund are actively working to undermine the possibility of a peaceful two-state solution to the conflict by continuing to financially underwrite the right-wing settler presence in Hebron. Elegant fundraisers in posh hotels…fuel the fires that the Israeli government must now extinguish before they consume the state of Israel itself.
The actions of settler extremists represent a grave threat to Israel’s democracy and its security. Americans who truly care about Israel and seek to secure its future as a democratic home for the Jewish people have for too long turned a blind eye to the damage being done with funds and support raised here that propel the settlers and their destructive agenda.
The Hebron Fund raises over $1-million every year to support this hooliganism and racial supremacism. Wealthy right wing Jews like Irving Moskowitz, with his California bingo empire, are instrumental in this work. Hotels like the Marriott chain welcome the aiders and abettors of lawlessness and violence into their banquet halls in return for cold hard cash. And the IRS gives these groups tax-exempt status in effect sanctioning their noxious agenda. We all better wise up if we ever want peace between Israelis and Palestinians.