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'These are biblical lands promised to us': Jewish settlers in West Bank hope Gaza conflict will help their cause | Israel-Hamas war | The Guardian

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  kavika  •  7 months ago  •  38 comments

By:   the Guardian

'These are biblical lands promised to us': Jewish settlers in West Bank hope Gaza conflict will help their cause | Israel-Hamas war | The Guardian
Human rights groups say settlers, empowered by their right-wing government, are exploiting the Israel-Hamas war

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Human rights groups say settlers, empowered by their right-wing government, are exploiting the Israel-Hamas war

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Tamal Sikurel pats her belly, swollen with her sixth child, and smiles. "It is part of the war effort," she says. Behind her is a school empty of pupils and homes empty of their former inhabitants. Beyond the buildings are dry hills sloping down to the Jordan valley.

"For thousands of generations we have always had to fight to justify our existence … I feel the power of that history every day. We have all the biblical rights, historical rights and moral right to keep ourselves safe here," Sikurel said.

This 35-year-old, and the other 500,000 Jewish settlers on the West Bank, are now at the centre of a growing storm of violence and controversy as the war between Israel and Hamas moves into its seventh week.

Some are motivated by religious or nationalistic reasons, others by the lower cost of living. What was once seen as a pioneer lifestyle is now often very comfortable: some early settlements, once tiny rudimentary "wildcat" outposts, are now well established and wealthy, with security guards at the entrance and fences topped with cameras and barbed wire. Their population has surged 16% in the last five years.

Israeli human rights groups say settlers, already empowered by the most rightwing government in Israel's history, have exploited the conflict to pursue their own agenda, intensifying efforts to force Palestinians out of their homes on the West Bank.

Last Thursday, the French government condemned this as a "policy of terror" and urged Israeli authorities to protect Palestinians from "violence which has the clear objective of forced displacement". President Joe Biden, a staunch ally of Israel, said last month the attacks by "extremist settlers" amounted to "pouring gasoline" on the already burning fires in the Middle East.

Such criticism may explain a recent public relations effort by settlers to improve their image. Regavim, a pro-settler NGO usually hostile to international journalists, drove a busload of reporters into the south Hebron hills last Thursday while giving them a lecture about the conflict.

One stop on the tour was Zanuta, a village where the Guardianhad previously reported that weeks of intense settler violence had, by the end of October, forced its 150 Palestinian residents to make a reluctant collective decision to leave. Armed settlers - some in reservist army uniforms, some covering their faces - had begun breaking into their homes at night, beating up the adults, destroying and stealing belongings, and terrifying the children.

Naomi Kahn, a spokesperson for Regavim, denied that there was any campaign to displace Palestinians and said the former Zanuta residents were "squatters", the "foot soldiers of Palestinian independence". Paid to live in the village by the EU, they had simply decided to "move on" when the payments stopped.

"Israel is powerless because of international pressure. The EU is making a situation that can only be resolved by force," Kahn said.

Many of the settlers who spoke to the Observer said they believe they had been vindicated by the 7 October attacks launched by Hamas into southern Israel, killing 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians in their homes or at a festival.

Yochai Damari, leader of the Har Hevron regional council, which administers settlements across a swath of the southern West Bank, claimed the 7 October attacks had given "Arabs courage and inspiration".

"Most of all, there is a very strong feeling that this is the moment to destroy Hamas and destroy the same agenda among the Arabs here," he told the Observer.

After an Israeli soldier was killed at a checkpoint on the West Bank's route 60, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's national security minister, said last week that Israel needed to deal with Hamas in the West Bank "exactly like we are dealing with Gaza".

The Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank. The settler population in the region consists of around half a million people. Photograph: Mahmoud Illean/AP

Gaza health authorities say at least 12,000 people have been confirmed killed in the Israeli bombardment and ground invasion - more than 5,000 of them children. At least a million have been displaced.

Many of the more hardline settlers say they want peace but are "on the frontline of the war".

Sikurel claimed that last month's attacks had been a "wake-up call", demonstrating "that we live on different planets".

"We in the western world want to live in faith and safety in the normal world, and time after time they are showing us that they do not think the Jews have a right to exist," she said.

Such rhetoric is common across Israel after last month's attacks but has long characterised the views of many settlers and led to accusations of racism.

"I have heard so much … about the violence of the settlers and it is so weird. When I go out of my settlement, I am afraid. They work with us, we give them coffee but I do not know if one of them will kill me," said Orit Marketinger, a 24-year-old from the settlement of Otniel whose father was shot dead in 2016 by a Palestinian.

"We want peace and we believe in the law. They believe in hate and they kill us just because we are Jewish," she said.

A total of 138 Israelis and 1,012 Palestinians were killed on the West Bank from 2008 to September this year, according to the UN. Since 7 October, Israeli internal security services are aware of four cases in which the settlers shot and killed Palestinians, the local Haaretz newspaper has reported.

A kilometre or so to the south of Zanuta is the line where the West Bank - occupied by Israel after the 1967 war - ends and the internationally recognised territory of the Jewish state begins.

For many settlers, this delimitation is aberrant. They refer to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria, two ancient Israelite kingdoms. These terms are also used administratively by the Israeli government.

"These are the biblical lands that were promised to the patriarchs thousands of years ago, and they walked on these lands, and now it is my generation that walks here," said Damari.

The settlers deride the widely held view that their presence is not only a major obstacle to any possible progress towards peace, however unlikely at this current moment of conflict, but also a source of much of the violence sweeping the occupied territories.

This year was already the deadliest in at least 15 years for West Bank residents, with some 200 Palestinians and 26 Israelis killed, according to UN data. Earlier this month, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, blamed the violence on "a tiny handful of people [among the settlers] who take the law into their own hands".

Nathalie Sopinsky, originally from Delaware in the US, has lived in the settlement of Susiya for 16 years and leads a first-response medical service for settlers.

Sopinsky said she had been extremely busy with "normal injuries, terrorism injuries" but had made a "lifestyle choice" to live in the occupied West Bank.

"There is no traffic, plenty of parking," she said. "I go out to walk with my daughter in the morning. There are goats and shepherds. It's all fresh and natural."

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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     7 months ago

If the settlers are going to claim that the land was promised to them I would assume they are speaking of God.

There are millions of people across the world who could make the same claim for land taken forcibly from them

I doubt if God would accept the fact that the settlers are illegally forcing both Palestinians and Bedouins out of the West Bank and some cases killing them. 

Netanyahu claims that it is a few settlers that are involved, yet there are numerous articles and videos of the IDF helping the settlers.

Israel sets record for illegal settlement approvals: Rights group

Peace Now said that Israel has approved the construction of almost 13,000 housing units in illegal settlements, the most since the group began tracking.

If there is ever going to be peace or a path to it these actions by the ''settlers'' and the support of the government must stop.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
1.1  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @1    7 months ago
If there is ever going to be peace or a path to it these actions by the ''settlers'' and the support of the government must stop.

As long as Netanyahu is in charge it won't change. And even get worse.

the best thing that could happen-- for both the zJews and the Arabs-- would be if he was ousted from office.

(Apparently polls show his support is dropping-- hopefully it will continue and eventually get him and his political allies out of office.)

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  seeder  Kavika     7 months ago
the best thing that could happen-- for both the zJews and the Arabs-- would be if he was ousted from office.

I totally agree, Krish. If he stays in office Israel is in for some tough times.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
2.1  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @2    7 months ago
I totally agree, Krish. If he stays in office Israel is in for some tough times.

The excessively barbaric attack on Israeli civilians on October 6th was unusual for 2 reasons-- the extreme sadistic methods of attack used by Hamas on innocent civilians.  (beheadings of babies in front of their parents. Cutting open a pregnant woman and the knifing to death the fetus. Gouging out eyeballs of live Israelis-- and more.

jrSmiley_5_smiley_image.png

But another aspect of the attack was that Israeli intelligence failed to predict that.

The blame for that failure should be mainly attributed to Netanyahu's policies. And many Israelis are also starting to realize that.

But IMO the problem is that Israel (actually most other countries are like this as well) are reluctant to change leaders in the middle of a war. So even though Israelis are increasingly opposed to Netanyahu now, too many are still reluctant to replace him at this time.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @2.1    7 months ago
The blame for that failure should be mainly attributed to Netanyahu's policies. And many Israelis are also starting to realize that.

To the best of my knowledge has not taken any responsibility for the failure to protect Israel. 

So even though Israelis are increasingly opposed to Netanyahu now, too many are still reluctant to replace him at this time.

Agreed, it rarely ever happens, but like Churchill he may be gone ASAP after the war is settled.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Krishna @2.1    7 months ago
the extreme sadistic methods of attack used by Hamas on innocent civilians. 

I was taken aback by the joy expressed on their faces but maybe they were just mugging for the cameras.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.1.2    7 months ago
I was taken aback by the joy expressed on their faces but maybe they were just mugging for the cameras.

I don't even think that there is a word for what they did and what I felt when I saw some of the videos.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.1.4  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Kavika @2.1.3    7 months ago

It was very shocking and upon there return there was celebrations in the Gazan street with dancing, singing and sweets.  Other animals don’t do that, only people do.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.5  JohnRussell  replied to  Kavika @2.1.1    7 months ago
To the best of my knowledge has not taken any responsibility for the failure to protect Israel. 

He says he's waiting until after the war is over. Which most likely means it will never be over. He will make sure of that. 

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Kavika @2    7 months ago

Don’t disagree.  

Ismail Haniyeh governs Gaza from Qatar.  Apparently the life style is better there.

Mahmoud Abbas continues to sacrifice as President of the Palestinian National Authority for 19 years.  He and his sons prefer being closer to all the donated money.

A Euro, a yen, a buck or a pound
A buck or a yen
A buck or a pound.
Is all that makes the world go around
That clinking, clanking sound
Can make the world go 'round

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
3  Greg Jones    7 months ago

"For thousands of generations we have always had to fight to justify our existence … I feel the power of that history every day. We have all the biblical rights, historical rights and moral right to keep ourselves safe here," Sikurel said.

"Gaza health authorities say at least 12,000 people have been confirmed killed in the Israeli bombardment and ground invasion - more than 5,000 of them children. At least a million have been displaced."

Anyone who believes the lies of the Gaza health authorities is an idiot.

Illegal settlements? According to who? The West Bank is the historic homeland of the Jewish people; therefore, they can't be occupying their own land. The state of Israel is the only place in the Middle East where they should be able to live in peace. I'm sure the violence is not one sided and the West Bank Palestinians are not innocent of committing hostile acts. It's reasonable to assume that a good portion of these Palestinians share the extremist views of their brothers in Gaza, the majority of whom want to kill all the Jews

It's Simple Why No Arab Countries Are Taking Palestinian Refugees. They Know Better. (townhall.com)

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1  Krishna  replied to  Greg Jones @3    7 months ago
Illegal settlements? According to who?

The infamous UN Resolution 242. As UN resolutions go, it wasn't too unfair. 

But what happened is that in order to expedite both sides approving it, parts are somewhat vague-- open to different interpretations.

So instead of both sides agreeing to it, both sides can claim that the other side is not interpreting it correctly-- and neither side will do what's expected!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
3.1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Krishna @3.1    7 months ago
parts are somewhat vague-- open to different interpretations.

A well written political document, then.

 
 
 
Duck Hawk
Freshman Silent
3.2  Duck Hawk  replied to  Greg Jones @3    7 months ago

By that logic we need to give all of America back to the Native Americans,  after all it was their land first...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Duck Hawk @3.2    7 months ago
By that logic we need to give all of America back to the Native Americans,  after all it was their land first...

I mentioned that in my first comment, not especially NA's but millions of people around the world including NA's are entitled to having their land returned.

We are throwing ideas around as to trying to find a solution to the current situation in the West Bank/Gaza/Israel....

Do you have any thoughts on it, it doesn't matter how far out they are, it's not going o be a easy or simple solution.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
3.2.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Duck Hawk @3.2    7 months ago

But before the Europeans came, it's a pretty good bet that the NA's stole each other's lands and horses and wives.

Historically, the victors have laid claim to the "spoils of war" or conquest

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
3.2.3  Sean Treacy  replied to  Greg Jones @3.2.2    7 months ago
istorically, the victors have laid claim to the "spoils of war" or conquest

Which is one of the many, many reasons the "true owner"of the land argument is such nonsense. People believe  whatever group coquered it and drove off their enemies last  before the current occupiers is somehow the "true owner."   It's been going on since the dawn of humanity.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.2.4  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.3    7 months ago

Do nations have "a right to exist" ? 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.2.5  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.3    7 months ago

So if the Palestinians were somehow able to defeat Israel , the biblical land would belong to the Palestinians?  They're not even Jews or Christians. 

God gave the land to Israel , they say. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.2.7  devangelical  replied to  JohnRussell @3.2.5    7 months ago
"These are the biblical lands that were promised to the patriarchs thousands of years ago, and they walked on these lands, and now it is my generation that walks here"

let's see the verifiable paperwork on that...

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
3.3  1stwarrior  replied to  Greg Jones @3    7 months ago

256

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
3.3.1  Greg Jones  replied to  1stwarrior @3.3    7 months ago

See 3.2.2.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.3.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Greg Jones @3.3.1    7 months ago

Everyone get back on track and comment on the article.

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
Senior Quiet
3.3.3  Colour Me Free  replied to  1stwarrior @3.3    7 months ago

Hey 1st .. it must be exhausting hearing about Israels claim to the land of their ancestors.  I certainly cannot comprehend the depth of the pain for the Nation's that have watched their ancestors sacred lands turned into a parking lot.

In my youth I hiked the whole of Glacier and a good portion of Yellowstone, I hold both places dear to my heart - I can and do understand that sacredness, but I cannot fathom the loss the Indigenous peoples faced when their lands were taken - but especially the loss of culture that was also taken by force.

Peace..!

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
3.3.4  1stwarrior  replied to  Colour Me Free @3.3.3    7 months ago

It's got to be in you to have that feeling - no showmanship needed/accepted.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  seeder  Kavika     7 months ago

So would it make any difference to you if it was 5,000, 6,000 or 12,000? Playing numbers games is BS.

Illegal settlements? According to who? 

All settlements and outposts are considered illegal under international laws as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bans an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies. Israel ratified the Geneva Conventions on July 6, 1951.

I agree that Israel should be able to live in peace, the West Bank has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. You do realize that all Palestinians are not terrorists and many are part of the IDF the same with the Bedouins who are citizens if they live in Israel proper and are also members of the IDF.

If Israel continues to illegally settle the WB, there are over 500,000 Israelis there currently there will never be peace.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.1  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @4    7 months ago

My own opinion is that rather than Israel totally withdrawing from the West Bank-- or Israel never leaving, there should be a sort of compromise. Its not perfect but IMO it might be the best solution possible.

Israel should totally withdraw from half of the West Bank, and remain in half! (Of course even if that were to be accepted their would be arguments re: which side should get specific locations). But that could be worked out if both sides agreed in principal.

Another possible stumbling bloc-- Israel has spent a lot of money investing in towns, nice housing, etc. But if everyone agreed to this plan, the Palestinians could reimburse them for their investment in parts of the area they would get.

Where should they get the money from? Certain wealthy Gulf states who might want peace-- and who are obscenely rich!

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.1.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @4.1    7 months ago
Where should they get the money from? Certain wealthy Gulf states who might want peace-- and who are obscenely rich!

This could be part of a "Four State Solution". Israel would have  1 1/2 states-- its current area ("Israel proper") and gain half of the West Bank. 

___________________

The Palestinians would get 2 1/2!

1. Gaza. Who's in change? The Arabs. After Israel withdraws, it would totally be controlled by the Arabs! In fact, its arguably a Palestinian state already-- yes, its self governing. That's one. 

2. Jordan. The majority of their population is already Palestinian. (They are controlled by The Hashemites-- who are definitely not Palestinians!) Its high time the Palis have self-rule there! That's state #2 .

3. Half of the West bank. That's Palestinian state #2 1/2!

_______________

As mentioned above: The Israelis would have 1 1/2:

1. Current "Israel Proper". That's #1

2. They would get uncontested control of 1/2 of West bank. That's Israeli state #1 /2. 

So the Palestinians would get 2 1/2 states, Israel would end up with 1 1/2!

Ergo-- A 4 State Solution! jrSmiley_2_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
4.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Krishna @4.1    7 months ago

I think the two-state solution with contiguous land and boundaries is long dead.  Also, the current one-state solution isn’t sustainable.  Perhaps it time to think a a confederation with each people keeping the land they have today.  Kind of a mini-two state EU.  Jordan could help until the Palestinians figure out how to govern.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @4.1.1    7 months ago

I think that the biggest problem would be Jordan, I can't see the Hashemites giving up control and especially to the Palestinians.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.4  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4.1.2    7 months ago
I think the two-state solution with contiguous land and boundaries is long dead

Netanyahu has stated he will never agree to a two-state settlement and of course, the Palestinians have turned it down a number of times.

A confederation, interesting thought.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5  seeder  Kavika     7 months ago
My own opinion is that rather than Israel totally withdrawing from the West Bank-- or Israel never leaving, there should be a sort of compromise. Its not perfect but IMO it might be the best solution possible.

That is going to be a tough decision no matter what is chosen, if any.

Another possible stumbling bloc-- Israel has spent a lot of money investing in towns, nice housing, etc. But if everyone agreed to this plan, the Palestinians could reimburse them for their investment in parts of the area they would get.

They have invested a lot and it will be a stumbling block. The other side is what about the Palestinians and the Bedouins who have been driven out, losing everything they had, or the ones that were killed? 

There was one story that seemed to some it up for the Bedouins. A 80-year-old Bedouin herder's home was burned down with his possessions the fences were ripped down and his small herd turned loose. His comment was he remembered when he was forced out of his home 40 years ago in Palestine and now again he is driven from his home of 40 years again. I have been a herder my whole life, raised children, and never done harm to anyone, now I have nothing and nowhere to go.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6  seeder  Kavika     7 months ago

If one researches the Jewish/Arab situation from the beginning and both sides claim one has to add in one of the biggest screw ups the British after they screwed up the Palestine situation dumped it off on the UN. In 1947 the British announced it would be handing off the mess it created in Palestine to the UN. The UN adopted Resolution 181, which recommended the partition of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab states.

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
7  mocowgirl    7 months ago

I've watched a couple of videos by Sam Vaknin about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Sam is of Jewish descent and admits to his bias on other videos.

Sam stated he is deleting this video in 24 hours from this account because he addresses this issue in a separate youtube account.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  mocowgirl @7    7 months ago

I can't watch the video right now, but I'll be back in a few hours and I'll watch it than and comment.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  mocowgirl @7    7 months ago

He makes some very good points, especially about Netanyahu and never being able to defeat a terrorist organization since it's not an army it is a ideology, you cannot defeat an ideology.

He states that it is a war over natural resources and land which I totally agree with and that if Lebanon, Iran, Helbollah, Hamas and various other terrorist groups attacked Israel together Israel would be defeated.

His thoughts that Israel is making a huge mistake regarding the contintued attack on Hamas is also an interesting POS with actual facts backing him up.

Thanks for the video.

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
7.2.1  mocowgirl  replied to  Kavika @7.2    7 months ago
Thanks for the video.

You are welcome.

I watch Vaknin's videos on narcissism and human behavior or I probably would not have been aware of this video.

It is difficult to find a balanced perspective on what is happening in the world, but I thought Vaknin's video was worth watching because he lives in (or has lived in) the region this is happening.

In human history, most wars are fought over land with natural resources to exploit.  The victors take the spoils and the conquered are relegated to the wastelands whenever possible.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.2.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  mocowgirl @7.2.1    7 months ago
It is difficult to find a balanced perspective on what is happening in the world, but I thought Vaknin's video was worth watching because he lives in (or has lived in) the region this is happening.

He was born and raised in Israel and for the past few years lives in North Macedonia (Balkans).

In human history, most wars are fought over land with natural resources to exploit.  The victors take the spoils and the conquered are relegated to the wastelands whenever possible.

Just as any American Indian.

 
 

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