Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Not a Pretty Picture

How much bloodshed does a settlement like this generate? (YWN)
This is what gets me angry. When we speak about Israeli settlements, the one that is currently in Amona is what most people think of. Amona is a settlement that consists of a few trailer homes deep in the heart of the West Bank. This is the ‘stick in the eye’ to the Palestinians who live there now that mostly just want to be left alone.

Palestinians might prefer that where they live be part  of a Palestinian state and not part of Israel (…and I use the word ‘might’ on purpose). But on a pragmatic level they just want to live in peace and get on with their lives without being intimidated by settlers who constantly say they have a biblical right - and even obligation to settle all the land of Israel.

It is settlements like Amona that give Israel bad name. Which is why I fully support the government’s commitment to dismantle it.

As I have stated many times, I am opposed to settlement construction of any kind. Not because I don’t think Israel doesn’t have a right to do so. But because I think it is currently counter productive to its own interests. It angers all the nations of the world. Including Israel’s closest ally – the United States. Whatever is gained by construction in those places is more than lost by the ill will it generates – fueling BDS and J-Street claims that Israel is an oppressive occupying force whose ultimate goal is to annex the West Bank.

The fact is that settlers like those of Amona have a messianic fervor about settling the land. They constantly talk about that right as biblical – which they believe gives them the mandate to even shed their own blood in that cause and drive out the indigenous Arabs that don’t like it. So when Arabs and their sympathizers like BDS and J-Street talk about ‘the brutal occupation’ they are thinking of these guys. And they have a point.

That said, there is one thing that might change for the better with a new American administration. It should be obvious from Trump’s choices for high office that they are not only pro Israel but pro settlement. Which I believe means that they will no longer protest to the kind of settlement activity that Netanyahu has given approval to. Mostly to accommodate natural growth. Both in East Jerusalem and other heavily populated Jewish cities on the West Bank that border the so called green line (which is more or less the pre 67 border of Israel). 

Palestinians have already conceded these cities to Israel as part of a peace deal agreed to by Palestinian icon Yassir Arafat!  The Trump camp has already said it does not see settlement activity as an impediment to peace. Which is exactly the same thing Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly said.

Israel's high court has ruled that Amona must be dismantled. It would be nice if those settlers would just say, ‘OK.’ ‘We tried.’ ‘But we lost.’ ‘It’s time to pack up and leave – and find another place to live.’ Israel has generously offered these illegal settlers other places to relocate in Israel. They would not be left out in the cold.

But No... Not these people. They will  have no part of it and rejected the offer. They think they have God on their side because of the Mitzvah of settling the land. Which is interesting since most Poskim allow for giving up land to save lives.

There is little doubt in my mind that settlers like these incite violence on the part of Palestinians who are already predisposed to hate us. They nudge some of them over the line towards violence.

How many more Jews will be attacked and killed driving on West Bank roads because of people like this?! Do these people have no conscience about this?! They and their supporters will argue: ‘They don’t need ‘Amona’ to commit violence and murder against us. ‘They do it anyway.’ ‘Besides, is not Tel Aviv a ‘settlement in their eyes too?’ ‘Maybe we should evacuate that too’ they might ask rhetorically.

There is a difference between an Amona full of messianic settlers in the heart of Palestinian West Bank towns and the secular metropolis of Tel Aviv represents in the heart of Israel. True Palestinians may feel entitled to both pieces of land. But clearly Amona is a stick in the eye to the or Palestinian farmer living nearby who feels threatened while the objections to Tel Aviv are purely ideological. No one except for radical Islam thinks that they will ever have a chance to take Tel Aviv.

Apparently Amona settlers will resist – violently if they have to. In spite of their own rabbinic leader’s requests not to do so. From YWN
Tamar Nitzri is one of the residents of Amona, which is slated to be destroyed no later than December 25, 2016 as per a High Court of Justice ruling. Unlike the rav of the community of forty families, Rabbi Yair Frank, who announced there would be no violence if they are expelled, Tamar promises soldiers who come to evict them from their homes will be met with violence “and it will not be a pretty picture”. 
They hope their resistance will generate sympathy. Israeli soldiers violently pulling ‘innocent’ civilians out of their homes can make for some pretty sympathetic images to onlookers.

My hope is that people are not fooled by that tactic. In my view, violent resistance should cause the Israeli government to withdraw its offer to resettle these people. And instead throw them in jail for the maximum time allowed by law. What about their young children? I’m sure Israel has a wonderful system of child services to deal with the problem. That these parents will now be separated and in jail is something they should think about before they resist violently.

What a shame that Jew has to be fighting Jew. Especially since these settlers think they are doing the right thing by God. But when religious beliefs of a small minority of people flames the anger of their enemies, it generates death and destruction to others innocent of such activity. The government via law enforcement has the right and even the obligation to do what it takes to stop them. And prevent settlements like this from ever popping up again.