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A malignancy called Jewish settlers

A malignancy called Jewish settlers

By Khalid Amayreh

They murder in cold blood, steal in broad daylight and lie as often as they breathe the oxygen of life, all in the name of the Lord.

They descend on poor and helpless Palestinian olive harvesters in the vicinity of their colonies, beating the farmers, stealing their crops and destroying their orchards. And when the poor Palestinians try to put up a resistance, the heavily-armed thugs train their guns at them.

This is not the American Wild West. Welcome to the West Bank, where marauding Jewish settlers, who claim to be acting on instructions from God and that they are a light upon the rest of humanity, are tormenting Palestinian farmers day and night, seven days a week.

Even on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath or day of rest, the ostensibly religious but manifestly immoral settlers waste no time allowing the Palestinians a moment of respite.

The bandits seek and readily receive edicts or Talmudic Fetwas from rabbis and Torah sages, especially within their settlements, permitting them to violate the sanctity of the Sabbath in order to attack the Palestinians, steal their crops and damage their trees.

One embittered Palestinian farmer from the small town of Beit Ummar, five kilometers north of Hebron described the settlers who terrorize local farmers cultivating their olives as "criminals who should belong behind bars."

"They must be reading from the Torah of Satan and the Talmud of Hitler. Otherwise, what sort of religion or theology allows them to indulge in this evil?" said Haj Muhammed Abu Ayyash.

The 70-year-old man had more than one reason to be angry. This week, Jewish settlers from the nearby Bni Tsur colony attacked his olive grove, damaging many grown-up trees.

For him and his family, this is an economic Nakba or catastrophe.

"This (the grove) is our livelihood. The criminals know what they are doing. First they want to deprive us of our livelihood and second they want us to leave. One spends a lifetime growing and caring for these trees, and in 10 seconds, these thugs destroy them.

"Unfortunately, (President) Obama and (Republican candidate Mitt) Romney are in no mood to even listen to our grievances. They probably think we are children of a lesser God."

In the past two weeks, and as the olive harvest season began, Jewish settlers embarked on a widespread terror and theft campaign targeting Palestinian olive harvesters.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of grown-up olive trees, some dating back to the time of the Crusades, were destroyed, using gas-powered electric chain saws.

At the village of Mughayer east of Ramallah, settlers attacked several olive groves using axes as well as portable electric chain saws, in full views of Israeli soldiers.

Initially, the troops were quite passive, and did nothing to stop the settlers. However, when the Palestinians cultivating their olives moved to resist the armed settlers, the soldiers moved swiftly to protect the settlers, preventing the farmers from repulsing the settlers.

The same scenario has been repeating itself at numerous locations all over the West Bank.

Israeli government and army spokesmen, especially when speaking to a western audience, claim they are doing all they could to maintain law and order.

However, what these sleek media people don't tell is that the settlers are treated as above the law and that the army often refrains from confronting them in light of the fact that the settlers are more or less the government.

This is not an over-exaggeration. The settlers are represented and backed by very powerful religious and right-wing secular parties in the Knesset or Israeli parliament.

Even the Likud, the party of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, stands behind the settlers soul and heart.

Two weeks ago, Moshe Feiglin, a prominent Likud leader, led dozens of settlers into the al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade ostensibly in order to "gain a foothold" for Jews in a place which has been an exclusive Islamic sanctuary for more than 1400 years.

Feiglin is a messianic Jew who believes that non-Jews living in Israel or under the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank must be stripped of all national and political rights, including the right to vote.

And if the disfranchisement policy doesn't work, e.g. fails to make Jews true maters and non-Jews real slaves, then the non-Jewish population would have to suffer further deterioration in their status, including enslavement as "water carriers and wood hewers, " mass deportation or even genocide.

A few years ago, Daniela Weiss, an ideological ally of Mr. Feiglin, visited Hebron in order to encourage fellow settlers to resist government plans to evacuate them from an Arab building they had seized.

Weiss told the millenarian settlers that the way to deal with the Palestinians was not the way of (former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert or (Defense Minister Ehud) Barak, but the way of Joshua, the Biblical figure.

She was alluding to the genocidal massacres by the ancient Israelites of Canaanite tribes in the land of Canaan as recorded in the Bible.

No solution in sight 
With the Israeli Jewish society continuing to drift toward a combination of religious fascism and secular jingoism, Haj Muhammed Abu Ayyash is unlikely to receive a solace or help anytime soon.

According to recent opinion polls in Israel, the right wing bloc is likely to receive at least 68 seats in the 120-seat Israeli Knesset.

This projection, which seems more or less accurate given the phenomenal weakness of the left and liberal parties, will mean that the settlers will enhance their control of the Israeli government and therefore be more ghoulish than ever before toward the Palestinians.

Until quite recently, the Palestinian Authority (PA) implored the US government to restrain Israel and pressure her to restrain the settlers.

However, with the nearly complete domination of the Jewish lobby of American political life, even the US is increasingly powerless to pressure Israel. The fact that Netanyahu dares challenge Obama in the latter's own capital speaks volumes.

The ongoing Jewish campaign of terror and vandalism against Palestinians and their livelihood is just one aspect of a larger context which also includes the daily seizure of Palestinian land for the purpose of establishing new settlements or expanding existing ones.

Honest observers believe that Jewish settlement activities have already killed the two-state solution strategy as there is no room left for the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state on the West Bank, let alone one with East Jerusalem as its capital.

However, some politicians, including the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, still cling to the two state solutions, probably as a defensive reflex against the dreadful conviction which is haunting many that the conflict is really unsolvable.

Many Palestinians, including Ahmed Qurei', the first PA prime minister during Arafat's era, are now demanding a unitary bi-national state extending from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan.

However, most Israelis view this idea as anathema since it would alter Israel's Zionist identity especially in the long run. Hence, the irreconcilability of the conflict.


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