Saturday, December 06, 2008

Hebron and Jewish Terrorism

I haven't had time to follow all the details, but the situation in Hebron is beyond volatile. Daniel Levy summarizes events:
"The litany of settler actions over this week makes for particularly bleak reading on a Friday night. On the walls of home and in mosques in the West Bank villages of Yatma, Sanjil, Turmus Ayya, and Isawiyya, graffiti has been scrawled reading 'Mohammed the pig' and 'Death to the Arabs', elsewhere cemeteries have been desecrated, Palestinian homes set on fire, olive trees uprooted, tires punctured, and yesterday two Palestinians were shot and seriously wounded by settler fire. Israeli security forces overseeing the evacuation of the Hebron house and sometimes trying to bring order were stoned and assaulted by settlers, along with the customary hurling of choice abuse, notably the word 'Nazi'. According to the Israeli Yedioth Ahronot newspaper, Ethiopian IDF soldiers 'enjoyed' their own variation on the abuse theme, being told 'niggers don't expel Jews'."

Avi Issacharoff doesn't mince words:
"An innocent Palestinian family, numbering close to 20 people. All of them women and children, save for three men. Surrounding them are a few dozen masked Jews seeking to lynch them. A pogrom. This isn't a play on words or a double meaning. It is a pogrom in the worst sense of the word. First the masked men set fire to their laundry in the front yard and then they tried to set fire to one of the rooms in the house. The women cry for help, "Allahu Akhbar." Yet the neighbors are too scared to approach the house, frightened of the security guards from Kiryat Arba who have sealed off the home and who are cursing the journalists who wish to document the events unfolding there.

"The cries rain down, much like the hail of stones the masked men hurled at the Abu Sa'afan family in the house. A few seconds tick by before a group of journalists, long accustomed to witnessing these difficult moments, decide not to stand on the sidelines. They break into the home and save the lives of the people inside. The brain requires a minute or two to digest what is taking place. Women and children crying bitterly, their faces giving off an expression of horror, sensing their imminent deaths, begging the journalists to save their lives. Stones land on the roof of the home, the windows and the doors. Flames engulf the southern entrance to the home. The front yard is littered with stones thrown by the masked men. The windows are shattered and the children are frightened. All around, as if they were watching a rock concert, are hundreds of Jewish witnesses, observing the events with great interest, even offering suggestions to the Jewish wayward youth as to the most effective way to harm the family. And the police are not to be seen. Nor is the army."

The United States supports this in deed if not in words, as does Israel. Decades ago, David Ben Gurion asserted the state's control over the militant right by sinking the Altalena. The Israel of today needs to reclaim that victory by forcibly removing from the West Bank any Israeli implicated in anti-Palestinian incitement or violence. If it does not, the United States must insist on it, backed up by threats to withhold aid. Steve Clemons also has a common sense suggestion:
"The assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir, has acquired star status among many extremist settlers and security authorities in Israel are worried about attempts to generate violence linked to the November 4th anniversary of Rabin's murder.

"This raises the question of why Israel and the United States don't work to classify factions of settler extremists -- organizing to propogate violence -- as terror organizations or terror-supporting individuals.

"Such classification of these groups and/or individuals would allow the freezing of their financial assets in the United States and would create penalties for those who aided and abetted in their violence. Some very wealthy Americans are financing some of the expansionist settler activity in occupied Palestinian territories -- and creating penalties for this assistance could be one way of squelching the violent dimensions of settler activity."

Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath.

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