Friday, November 30, 2007

Settlers' Legalism

In his Washington Post series, Amir Bakshi talks to a resident of Silwan who says the following:
"Jawad has fought hard to keep his family’s land. Forty years ago he was born in the jig-saw-like house we sit in. When his union-organizing father died in 1998, a group of Israeli settlers appeared at Jawad's door, claiming the recently-deceased man had sold them the deed to the house. Jawad took them to court and won. He says it taught him that, 'you can use the system to resist.'"

I wish it gave more details, and it speaks well of Israel that the Palestinian actually won this case. Too often the laws are rigged to favor Israeli Jews, especially in conservative Jerusalem. I also wonder what the settlers were basing their case on. In any case, the idea that all land used for settlements is acquired through purchase is an important element of the settlers' mythology, and one stringently argued by the supporters overseas on whom the most extreme depend:
"'The [orthodox] American Jewish community is instrumental to our existence here and our survival here,' David explains. Each year David and the Hebron Jewish Community host a fundraiser in New York where tickets cost $180 per head. Attendance regularly tops twelve hundred. He sends out regular podcasts to American faithful over iTunes, explaining how America is crucial to providing funds for social services like schools and maintenance operations. They're also important, he says, for settling."

As usual, due to the sensitivity of the topic, I need to add some sort of disclaimer. I'm just quoting what he says here. I've never personally researched American Orthodox Jews' attitudes toward the settler movement. I do, however, know that those in the United States who do support it are important to its success.

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