Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bat Ayin violence

Israeli settlers backed up by the IDF throw stones at Palestinians in the West Bank village of Safa near Hebron

Last week a Palestinian man from the West Bank managed to infiltrate the controversial Jewish settlement of Bat Ayin where he attacked two children with an axe. One 13 year old was murdered and a seven year old was severely injured. The Palestinian man has escaped. This has led to a series of clashes between Jewish settlers and local Palestinians the latest of which occurred earlier today when dozens of Jewish settlers rampaged through the tiny Arab village of Safa attacking several Palestinians and damaging property. I am not going to get into a discussion about the rights and wrongs of Jewish settlements here only to say that this incident, fairly common as it is demonstrates clearly in my eyes the impracticality of these settlements being located where they are. It is just so blindingly obvious that they will have to be removed if there is to be a viable peace settlement.


Zaki said...

Removing the settlements may seem an obvious and an ideal policy claim, however it would not stop the violence. Therefore it is the easier option to promulgate than what the facts on the ground and in the heads are indicating.

Sorry Ted, I have to use a rebuttal on this. Given the atroceous killing of a small Jewish boy with an axe in the name of resistance to occupation will tell anyone with some reasonableness that the world is not as easy as it may seems. Even with the latest squermishes that followed with the settlers, I do not see the dismantlement of settlements as a solution to the grave danger this part of the world is facing.

It is like when Jews (visibly orthodox) visit the Temple mound, it is desecration but when any civilians do, it is a tourist attraction.

It is a sad story of non-acceptance of others... I recalled a documentary showing the lives of Jewish settlers... and their arab neighboors... The Jew (non-religious) from American looking at its neighboor and wanting to talk and share things and plan ahead, while the arab want him dead and gone....No talk... just get the hell out of here kinda of thoughts.... Yet the Jew wants to see if he can live there because it is a land that he cherishs because of its history and symbolism....and maybe because of the quality of life....

Sorry, this settler needs to be convinced that his grand childrens are not going to be told to get out of Beershaba or Jerusalem or Tel Aviv... and to this the Arabs are not willing to do ... they are not even willing to talk....with their neighboors perhaps "unwanted neighboors" given the circumstances but nonetheless neighboors...

THis is where the real problem lies...unwilling to talk besides "get out..." how can anyone pack up and leave without a farewell party (Joking)... Thus your idea of settlement gone will usher in a era of peace is an easy yet not too naive one ......

Ted Leddy said...


Just to clarify. I would never suggest that if Israel removed its controversial settlements that Palestinian hatred of Israel would simply fade away with them. I understand that Arab hatred of Israel runs much deeper than that.

However while I do not believe that removal of settlements will solve the conflict in its entirety I do believe that it is an important aspect in resolving it. I believe in a Palestinian state and in order for that state to be viable many Jewish settlements will have to be removed.

I consider myself to be a supporter of moderate Israel. That is, Israelis who believe in their country and want to defend it, aggressively if necessary. However I will always oppose those who believe that all the land between the river Jordan and the sea should be returned to the Jews because of a biblical prophecy. And obviously many settlers aspire to this, as do elements within the political establishments and the military. And I believe that what these people really want to do is make life hell for the Palestinians in the hope that they will leave. I have seen much evidence of the extreme nature of these settlers and I strongly disagree with you that they want to live side by side with their Arab neighbours. Many Israelis do, but few west bank settlers share this vision of peaceful coexistence.

Zaki, sorry I have not been blogging much lately. I've been very busy but I'm gonna try get back to a post a day this week.

Zaki said...

No problem about your lack of blogging activities. I just want to contribute to you blog. Your last post was very important because of the sad event in Bat Ayin.

Anyway, I agree that there are very religious elements on both sides that have made the problem unsolvable by their ultra-religious ideas. Where once was a simple territorial dispute that could have been solved quite readly from compromise of one inch of land there and here, has now become an ideological dispute in which parties have no intention of compromisings their beleifs.

Christopher Hitchens got it right when once he said that the "God-llies" the "God crazy" have hijacked the palestinian issue and made it impossible to solve if only through an armaguedon. And these people are intent to seeing their religious prophecies come through and they are eager to lend a hand on all this ....

Ted Leddy said...


I have always liked Christopher Hitchens stance on the Arab Israeli conflict. He supports Israel but is fiercely critical of the settler movement and in particular the American based christian Zionist/evangelical movements that encourage settler expansion. As you rightly quoted, these people have "hijacked the Palestinian issue" and often adopt more hard line positions than Israelis themselves.

In Northern Ireland we often suffered when Irish Americans in Boston or New York took even more hard line positions than we ourselves did. This was known as being more Irish than the Irish.
Regarding the holy land even Alan Dershowitz noted that the evangelicals often behave more Israeli than the Israelis and that this harms peace building efforts.

Zaki said...

It is sort of ironic that you bring the issue of Irish American who on average more extremist than their brethen who continue to live in Ireland. And as Dershowitz indicated in the case of the evangilical christians immense support for the state of Israel.

The same hold true with Arabs who have never known, talk to, heard from a Jewish person. I am talking about those outside the middle east (i.e., Muslims countries not bordering Israel). They hold the most extreme despicable view of the Jews than people who had known them personally. It is a very odd and strange situation, that these individuals who have not suffered directly from the "Jews" could have such extreme ideas. It could be because they do not really know what they are thinking off and it is merely propaganda and brain washing that they were fed all these years. But I beleive they take these views because they know these views and the subsequent actions (by others) will never hurt them directly. They can afford to be extremist and thus showing OVERTLY that they support this cause or that cause. This is what exatly is undermining the palestinian cause. It is time to let the palestinian decide their fate by themselves instead of the Muslim Arab countries and Iran.

Going back to your Irish example. This rings a bell on the great disconnect of next generation of immigrants with their ancestral culture and history. I used to be a college professor of sociology her in the USA. It surprised alot that many students were claimed to be of Irish ancestry did not even know the real cause of the great Irish potato famine of the mid 1800's (1945-52). Of course they might have know it was the well know blight disease that ragaved the potato crops for which the Irish were heavily depended. What surprised me is the most is that all of them did not know of the political and sociological factors that contributed to the starvation of million of people. I am refering to the lack of famine relief system by the British who had at that time recorded a bumper harvest of grain and maize, which they hoarded deliberatly as a weapon to starve of the poor and the rural folks in Ireland.

Again I am bringing this case only to illustratre the point that some people beleive and act more extremely than the people who are concerned directly.

Ted Leddy said...

Its an interesting thought Zaki

If the Israelis and Palestinians could just be left to themselves to work things out I think real progress could be made. I don't believe its a more difficult conflict to solve than the one in South Africa or the Balkans. The problem is the countless Muslim countries that don't even recognise Israel's right to exists when even the Palestinians under the PLO have. Not to mention the Iranians and the endless amount of militant groups, most of whom have no connection whatsoever to Palestine that have vowed to destroy Israel. I mean its really unbelievable, British Muslims, mostly of Pakistani origin chant "death to Israel" even though many have never even been to the region.

Then you have leftists in the US and Europe that seem to blame every problem in the Middle East on Israel. And of course on the other side you have these lunatic Christian Zionists that appear to want to speed up Armageddon by encouraging Israeli expansion. Frankly I would like to put them all on an island along with
Ahmadinejad and his buddies and let them have their Armageddon together, just leave the rest of us out of it.

Your Irish example is very interesting. I suppose it goes back to all our desires to establish and cling on to an identity. For Irish Americans they feel they can do this by having ago at the British where as the Muslims feel better about themselves by chanting "death to Israel". What a world.