Thanks to Amir Terkel for pointing out one of the most egregious examples of settler chutzpah for many a moon. The settlement of Hashmonaim (“Hasmoneans” or Maccabees, in English) sits hard by Naalin, a Palestinian village, much of whose agricultural land has been stolen by the Separation Wall. Each Friday, there are protests joined by villagers, international peace activists, and Israelis, against the Wall. In a form of ritual kabuki, the IDF rains down tear gas canisters on the demonstrators, often wounding or even killing them.
Haaretz is reporting that the settlers of Hashmonaim are complaining of the terrible inconvenience of being shut inside their homes for hours at a time on Fridays due to the wafting gas:
The weekly protest brings tears to the eyes of the settlers who dwell a few hundred meters from the village. But the tears are not tears of identification with Naalin’s protest against the Separation Wall. They are tears caused by clouds of tear gas.
…”This was a quiet place, a nice place to live,” said Osnat Gilad…”but since the trouble started everything changed.”
She says that “on Fridays, midday, it is impossible to go outside, you just cannot breathe.” She lives at the edge of the community, very close to the fence.
“If you want to go out and enjoy the garden on Friday afternoon, it is simply impossible because of the strong smell outside,” she said. “At first, when the demonstrations began and the army began using the foul smelling stuff, we were sure that the neighbor is using fertilizer for the lawn, but we understood later that it came from the direction of the fence. Our relations with the residents of Na’alin are very good and we’ve hired them to work here for years, and suddenly we found ourselves living on the border.”
…”Last week, the son of the neighbors came over in panic and said that his eyes were burning,” said Tamar Roth, whose home is also close to the fence. “I washed his face with lots of water and tried to calm him down but it is not an easy thing.”
“There are stink bombs and the smell is just sickening, and we are closed in the house and dare not go outside because it takes several hours for the smell to pass, and during Sukkot we were afraid we would not be able to sit in the sukkah because of the frightful smell,” Roth said.
To think that these settlers thought they were coming to live in a serene idyllic place and the truth of the Occupation has hit them smack in the face. I think the “suddenly we found ourselves living on the border,” is what did it for me. Where did she think she was living? In Tel Aviv? Wake up, lady. You’re in the thick of it. If you don’t want to smell like shit on Erev Shabbat complain to the IDF. They’ll certainly take your complaints much more seriously than those of the villagers of Naalin. Maybe Ms. Gilad and her community can share some of their gas masks with their good friends in Naalin in a show of inter-ethnic solidarity.