Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hope amid the ashes

Some of the militant expansionist Israeli hardliners who are building and occupying illegal settlements in the West Bank in defiance not only of international law but even in the face of Israeli laws have adopted a new "policy" that should settle once and for all the question of are they "settlers" or are they bigoted fanatics.

It's called "the price tag." Any time the Israeli government acts to curtail their illegal activities or makes moves toward a peace settlement, they respond with violent attacks on Palestinians or Palestinian-owned property, thereby exacting a "price." If you can't understand why they would attack someone - Palestinians - in supposed retaliation for something someone else - the Israeli government - did, back up to the last two words of the previous paragraph.

One "price tag" incident occurred Monday, when settlers
launched an attack on a small Palestinian village, burning carpets and Qurans inside the village’s mosque before being expelled by the Israeli military.

The inside of the mosque had been doused with kerosene and slogans in Hebrew were written all over the mosque. ...

The timing of the attack again was clear, as Israel’s cabinet is in intense debate at the moment about extending the settlement construction freeze that expired last week. A number of settlers, as well as settler supporters in the cabinet, have expressed outrage at the idea of its extension.
But then again, things don't always work out the way the fanatics hope. The very next day, six settler rabbis
delivered a box of Korans to a West Bank mosque which had been torched by vandals, in an unusual peace gesture welcomed by Palestinians.

The delegation was led by Rabbi Menahem Froman, a founder of Eretz Shalom (Land of Peace), a small group of West Bank settlers who have reached out to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank to pursue peaceful coexistence.

They brought around a dozen copies of the Muslim holy book on a solidarity visit to the mosque in Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem the day after unidentified vandals spray-painted Hebrew insults on its walls and set it alight. ...

Several hundred Palestinians cheered as the rabbis arrived in two armoured Land Rovers accompanied by Israeli soldiers. ...

After talking with residents and examining the damage, Froman, who comes from the nearby Tekoa settlement, held hands with a Muslim cleric as they both raised copies of the Koran in the air.

"My belief is in peace and in God," the white-bearded rabbi told reporters.

"Those who act against peace act against God. God will defeat those who do things like this."

Palestinians at the event expressed a similar sentiment.

"We are all from the same family and we must live as good neighbours," said Abed Farajallah, a Palestinian from the southern West Bank town of Idhna.
But, as Jason Ditz wrote at, when it comes to the West Bank, it don't come easy
and the plan for these settlers to join with Palestinians in a pro-peace demonstration were foiled by the Israeli military, which blocked them from attending and later clashed with them.

Meanwhile, more attacks seem to be in the offing, as a right wing settler group condemned the plans of the Israeli government to shutter an illegally built synagogue in a remote settlement and threatened to set Palestinian farmlands on fire and launch more “price tag” attacks if the Israeli government doesn’t back down.
The Israeli government joined the Palestinian Authority and the White House in condemning the attack; Netanyahu called it "terrorism." So now we will see just how serious the Israelis are about "fighting terrorism" when it can't be blamed on Hamas.

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