As tensions rise over Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s announced settlement freeze, settler leaders have launched a wave of massive protests trying to block the move. Now, they’ve progressed to threatening violence against the state as well as their Palestinian neighbors:
Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, one of the heads of the “Od Yosef Hai” yeshiva in Yitzhar, published an article recommending other means of action.
“If there is no quiet for the Jews, there will be no quiet for the Arabs. A Civil Administration base can serve as a target for a quick, precise infiltration that could damage damage and destroy one of their offices. You destroy ours, we destroy yours!”
On Sunday morning, Yitzhar settlers burned cars and tractors in the nearby village of Einbus.
Resident Nader Hashem Alan, 36, his wife and eight children were sleeping when settlers attacked his home. He told Haaretz that at 1:45 A.M. he heard noise outside, and saw a Subaru van with five armed men.
“At first I thought they were car thieves. But then they poured gas on the cars and tractors. I yelled at them, but they torched my car and told me to go inside,” he said.
At what point do we recognize these thugs as what they are: enemies to the state of Israel who deserve to met with the full punitive force of the law?
I’ve already noticed a substantial turn in the pro-Israel community in their opinion of the settlers — from “houses in the desert” to rampaging brutes.* The “pogrom” they launched in response to the Hebron evacuation (the words of the Israeli Justice Minister, and Ehud Olmert for that matter, not mine) only crystallized my contempt for these people. It will be a happy aftereffect of this operation if it further solidifies the bifurcation between Israel’s friends, and its enemies. The settlers are quite clearly in the latter camp.
* It is said, and this is correct, that there is a definitive split amongst settlers between folks who — for lack of a better term — just wanted more air and space, and the religious-nationalist radicals responsible for settler violence and incitement. However, the leadership of the settlers has shown itself to be predominantly in the camp of the latter, and they are the ones responsible for the current wave of unrest.