Rabbibrian's Blog

A Voice for Justice and Peace in Israel/Palestine

Palestinian Friend describes settler violence in his village

Posted by rabbibrian on June 24, 2009

Burning Trees in the Village of Jeet

ali Sadeh

Yesterday a Palestinian colleague who works for Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel called me.  “How are you doing, Zakkaria?” I ask.  He responds that his village, Jeet,  just outside Qalqilya, has been attacked several times by settlers in the neighboring settlement of Havat Gilad.  Today he sent me some pictures of the fires that they set to their trees and agricultural land and of a villager who had to have two operations on his head and spent a few weeks in the intensive care unit as a result of the injuries he suffered when settlers attacked him on his way to work in Israel.

Zakkaria is a sweet and generous man, dedicated to protecting the human rights of his people and all people.  In this phone conversation the issue of the settlements that I have written about several times on this blog came to life in a very  urgent way.  The experience of the people in the village of Jeet is not unique.  Zakkaria’s shocking description of the lawlessness and aggression of some of the settlers affects many villages and thousands of Palestinians.  I try to imagine myself in his shoes.  Who do I turn to for help?  The IDF?  The police?  He tells me they called both and the soldiers arrived 45 minutes later and did nothing to hold the settlers accountable for their violent hate crimes.  Right now they turn to Rabbis for Human Rights, internationals and others for help but they can’t stop the settlers.

Zakkaria’s call put all the sophisticated arguments that we are engaged in about President Obama’s call for a freeze in settlements -so far ignored by Israel-  in perspective.  This is the daily reality of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.  I cannot even imagine the sense of hopelessness they must feel.  Who can they turn to for basic protection against racist vandals?  Only the one or two courageous Israelis like Rabbi Arik Ascherman and a few others.

I guess the question we need to ask ourselves is, can they turn to us?  Will we as Americans respond and how will we respond?  That is the question.

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5 Responses to “Palestinian Friend describes settler violence in his village”

  1. Y. Ben-David said

    I am new to this site, but I have been following MONDOWEISS for some time and they have numerous postings of this type. I am puzzled by them. In this one we see a fire and a badly injured man. Nothing in these photos indicate what really happened and who caused them. The man could just as well been injured in an auto accident, there is no way of knowing just by looking at the photo.
    We are told “we called the police and IDF but they did nothing”. If a man was severly beaten like this, that is a serious crime and the police would certainly investigate it. The political elements in Israel which are sympathetic to the Palestnians and hostile to the settlers would make a lot of noise if serious crimes were being committed against Arabs and the authorities were simply ignoring them “just because Arabs are the victims”. Media outlets such as YNET and Ha’aretz are also strongly opposed to the settlement movement and I am sure would be glad to publicize crimes of this nature, if committed by settlers. Since the beginning of Oslo the police and SHABAK have had many informants planted among the supposedly radical settler elements and they would be able to identify violent characters. Yet we never hear about arrests or trials for these crimes.
    I do recall recently that an Israeli activist for Palestinian rights was quoted on numerous “progressive” that “settlers murdered four Palestinians in revenge for the killing of the young boy at Bat Ayin”. Yet no one, including the Palestinians had actually reported that any Palestinians were killed. This leads me to wonder about the reliability of many of these reports.

    • Ben David,

      Human rights agencies such as B’stelem disprove pretty much everything you wrote in your comment. Settler violence against Palestinians is rampant and occurs with impunity on a regular basis. Your claim that “police would certainly investigate” these kinds of crimes is exceedingly naive. Not only do these crimes go uninvestigated, they are often occur under the watchful eye (and protection) of the IDF

      Several years ago Btselem instituted a program called “Shooting Back,” in which they gave video cameras to Palestinian villagers and asked them to document the attacks. Take a look at this:

      You can also see many more documented attacks here:

      http://www.btselem.org/english/Video/

    • Diem said

      Second IDF soldier refuses to serve over violence towards Palestinians:-

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1096048.html

      Presumably there is no doubt that this account is unbiased accurate and under investigation?

  2. Y. Ben-David said

    I still must ask what the police and the Israeli media, particularly that which is not sympathetic to the settler movement (e.g. the newspapers Ha’aretz and Yediot Aharonot) does with all this evidence when presented to them?

  3. Shimon said

    When was the last time, if any that you felt sorrow for Jews suffering from Arab/Palestinian violence?
    You are truly trying to outdo Naturei Karta.

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