The following text is by a friend of mine, who served for years in Hebron. He’s originally from Jerusalem and currently lives on a kibbutz in the Negev (where he volunteered before and after his army service, as part of a garin doing national service). This is a person who loves his country and is hurt by what’s happening in it.

He wrote this a few days ago, and I apologize for my delay in sharing it.

Surreal 1-

I’m talking to my little sister, who has been spending most of her day as the war-room officer responsible for all the medical treatment and medical evacuation. She tells me a bit about all that has been happening today in the cursed city, Hebron. Then she says: “all together it was o.k., only 4 wounded from our forces…” What has it come to, that “our forces” doesn’t include Israeli citizens who were also injured during the evacuation of the “house of quarrel (or the “house of peace”- depends who you ask…). The saddest thing is that it’s true- these people don’t define themselves any more as Israelis. They don’t accept the sovereignty of the state and its institutions. The Supreme Court, the IDF, the police, and the Knesset- they are all irrelevant in the eyes of these people that are not even law-breakers any more- the law does not exist to them- and the consequences are disastrous.


Surreal 2-

It’s so stupid to compare events from modern Israel to the Holocaust. It’s not only stupid, it’s completely inappropriate. Nothing in the last 60 years of Israel’s existence can compare with the cold-hearted and systematic murder of the European Jewry. Today’s events in Hebron remind me other things- demolition of graves, desecration of prayer houses, trashing of shops and businesses, and physical damage to innocent people. 70 years ago this night was called “Kristalnacht” and it happened in Nazi Germany. Today it’s happening here- in Israel- the country we all love. A father and son were shot in their home just because they’re Arabs, shops burned and neighborhoods terrorized by Jewish settlers. As a soldier who served a few years back in the city of Hebron, I know that the army can not stop the “price tag” policy of the extreme settlers (a policy that states that for every evacuation of a Jewish house or settlement there will be retaliations against Arabs throughout the West Bank). They can’t due to the fact that they have no backing from the state to do so.

It’s right- they are a small minority, it’s right- they don’t represent the views of the vast majority of Jewish settlers in the west bank.

But they’re here and we are responsible for them. We always demand the Palestinian authorities control their extremists, how can we keep on doing so when we don’t attempt to control ours?

Surreal 3-

It’s reasonable to think that if I wasn’t stuck to the news today, I would have had a normal and even relaxed day. We had fine weather, the kids were cute, the garin are doing great and I had a lovely dinner with my girlfriend (I cooked a great onion soup and my roommate baked some bread for us).

Less than 3 hours drive- but two different worlds…

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  • So, was that house legally purchased or not? Because it could be argued that the government breached the law first. Not condoning anything (I still find what happened as disgusting), but just trying to see their point. As in, if I understand the settlers’ minds correctly, if the government doesn’t follow the law, then why should they?

  • the Israeli law states that any land or house that is purchased in the west bank must be done so with a special permit from the minister of defense (this is due to the fact that every one of these houses must be guarded by the I.D.F).
    This house was indeed paid for legally but no permit was ever given to them by the minister of defense.

    saying that the house was brought legally is using half-trues

    but all this argument is irrelevant to the settlers going out and retaliating on the Palestinians of the west bank. Nothing justifies that!

  • So: how did these people – whose families and communities have for decades worked their way up into the IDF’s elite units – how did they come to feel themselves not part of the State?

    It’s called disenfranchisement.

    In the 1980s the religious-zionist knitted kippahs were widely admired. Then the left saw its power slipping, and attacked people who threatened their cultural program.

    During the years leading up to Oslo, Israel’s leftist elites in government and media pursued a steady program of demonizing this entire community. This included willful falsehood and propaganda manipulation by Israel’s secret service.

    In the process, the “law” was rewritten a dozen times to suit left-wing politics – to the point where soldiers have hesitated in their duty – and been killed – because they feared the legal/media wringer they’d be put through if they defended themselves against “peace partners”.

    So: spare me the self-righteous breast-beating about how “lawless” the settlers have become.

    As Oslo falls apart, more and more Israelis see clearly that this group are the only ones to retain healthy instincts of self-respect and self-defense.

  • Of course there is no justification for attacking soldiers and attacking otherwise innocent Palestinian civilians. But the fault? It’s ours. We taught the extremist settlers what tactics they should use to achieve their goals. I mean heck, it worked for the Palestinians, so why not for the settlers? Prior to the first intifada, no one serious ever talked about dividing Jerusalem. Now even the Prime Minister, fuckwad that he is, is talking about it. It seems all the concessions that Israel is making are predicated on the other side’s incessant acts of violence. We taught the extremist settlers well.