This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

The Other Story

"You won't hear even my most radical neighbours say that Duma [Palestinian village where residence was fire-bombed, infant killed, father died of burns] was a good thing, at least out loud."
"We're the most demonized people on Earth. [Members of his community, Yitzhar had nothing to do with the violence]."
"Puncturing tires? That might be another thing [weekly acts of vandalism they are capable of, against Palestinians]."
"I'm not ready to call it [popular theory that Jews organized the Duma firebombing] a conspiracy."
"We [Jewish settlers] are the tip of the spear We are the shield."
"[No fence exists around Yitzhar, for:] A fence means we need one. A fence means we have something to fear."
"I sleep with a pistol under my pillow. I keep a dog, I lock the doors. There's my wife's gun, my gun, and I fear the choice I might have to make if we are attacked. Do I grab the children first or the gun?"
Erzi Tubi, resident spokesman, Yitzhar West Bank [illegal] settlement

Jewish Israeli laborers work at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, south of Nablus, on Aug. 5, 2015. (David Vaaknin/for The Washington Post)

They're unmistakably religious zealots, believing that the Bible speaks of their heritage rights, that the land that the international community calls the West Bank and Gaza, are Jewish possessions, belong to Israel proper, because the ancient Israelites viewed it as their land, a land promised to them by the Almighty. Yitzhar in the West Bank is considered by Israelis to be one of the most extreme in terms of violent confrontations, not only with their Palestinian neighbours, but with the Israeli military.

They deny, however, that they are baby-killers; that simply isn't their agenda, it doesn't reflect their values nor their intentions. They do, on the other hand, indulge in ongoing and varied Palestinian-targeted acts of vandalism meant to dissuade their Palestinian neighbours from their belief that this is their land too by right of habitation and possession. And so they destroy olive trees, they block access to springwater, to farm fields and religious sites.

And in their turn they are opposed by Palestinians throwing stones, reverting sometimes to tossing gasoline bombs, and of course shooting guns at cars carrying settlers. It's hard to say what came first, but it's a safe enough bet that all settlers were first exposed to the violent expressions of hatred emanating toward them by Palestinians who believe they have been illegally displaced from land they rightfully call their own.

As far as the ultranationalist Jewish settlers and their supporters are concerned they have the divine right to biblical lands which God promised them. The hilltop settlement of Yitzhar doesn't intend to go anywhere. They're there, and there they mean to stay, in perpetuity. And to expand their presence. To take possession of more land until there is no more to claim. In the meanwhile, they build their homes with their hands and relish their incomparable view of a landscape known to eyes that lived thousands of years before them.

Erzi Tubi speaks for his settlement when he says they all believe that it was "crazies" who were involved in the firebombing in Duma. And not adults, but hot-headed teens living on nearby settlements who responded to their own fears. And, he said, to Washington Post reporters whom he was showing proudly around the settlement, when Jews are shot, run over, stabbed by Palestinians no one cares.

And so, on a hot August day, as he hosted the reporters, Jewish children played in pools, while their parents stood nearby, guns in holsters, prepared for any eventuality.

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