Set­tlers turn against their state

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY BEN LYN­FIELD HAL­HOUL

THE IN­TEN­SI­FY­ING en­mity of far­right set­tlers to­wards the state erupted into vi­o­lence this week af­ter sol­diers de­stroyed two il­le­gal struc­tures in Kiryat Arba, near He­bron.

In re­sponse, set­tlers van­dalised Pales­tinian cars, des­e­crated a Mus­lim grave­yard and gave in­cen­di­ary ra­dio in­ter­views. Sh­muel Ben-Ishai, a He­bron set­tler, told Army Ra­dio: “We hope they [the sol­diers] will be smit­ten by their en­e­mies, that all of them will be like Gi­lad Shalit [the sol­dier held by Ha­mas] and that they will all be slaugh­tered.”

But the far-right is fum­ing not just against the state and the army. Their anger is also fo­cused in­creas­ingly on the main­stream lead­er­ship of the 275,000 set­tlers in the West Bank.

A hill­side near the Pales­tinian town of Hal­houl has be­come one of the fronts in a brew­ing re­bel­lion by young set­tlers against the lead­er­ship.

Dozens of ac­tivists, in a show of fer­vent op­po­si­tion to what they see as sell-out poli­cies by the Coun­cil of Jewish Com­mu­ni­ties in Judea, Sa­maria and Gaza (Ye­sha), es­tab­lished an out­post here dur­ing Suc­cot. Al­though evicted by the army, they have kept re­turn­ing and are now vow­ing to re­turn to es­tab­lish a per­ma­nent set­tle­ment, Maalot Hal­houl, and to take over other hill­tops through­out the West Bank.

The young rad­i­cals’ anger has been sim­mer­ing for three years, ever since the main­stream lead­er­ship, in their view, es­sen­tially ac­qui­esced to the Gaza dis­en­gage­ment.

“Who gave them the right to say the na­tion of Is­rael con­cedes any part of the Land of Is­rael? Just as Olmert has no right to do this, they have no right to do this,” said Zavia Davis from Kiryat Arba, de­scrib­ing the main­stream lead­er­ship as “traitors. Traitors to the mis­sion, to the ob­jec­tive they were sup­posed to rep­re­sent.”

Her hus­band Aryeh added: “The coun­cil is serv­ing the in­ter­ests of the gov­ern­ment, while the plan that we of­fer is to set­tle all of Judea and Sa­maria. Ev­ery place.”

Ac­tivists es­tab­lished short-lived out­posts at two other West Bank lo­cales dur­ing Suc­cot, at­tempts car­ried out un­der the head­ing of two groups es­tab­lished since the Gaza with­drawal, Youth for the Land of Is­rael and Faith­ful of the Land of Is­rael.

The Davis’s said th­ese were not mem­ber­ship or­gan­i­sa­tions and de­clined to es­ti­mate how many ac­tivists they had, but that hun­dreds and some­times sev­eral thou­sand peo­ple come to their ac­tiv­i­ties.

They look to Daniella Weiss, the vet­eran set­tler leader and for­mer mayor of Ke­du­mim, as their men­tor.

The young rad­i­cals dis­miss talk of a set­tler un­der­ground as part of a smear cam­paign stoked by the gov­ern­ment. But Mr Davis, who as a sol­dier was im­pris­oned for re­fus­ing to evac­u­ate Gaza set­tlers, said he saw the coun­cil’s agree­ment in Au­gust to a gov­ern­ment deal to move the il­le­gal Mi­gron out­post as a his­toric cross­roads.

The gov­ern­ment “knows that if it can suc­ceed in va­cat­ing Mi­gron it will move for­ward and evac­u­ate all of Judea and Sa­maria. For this they need col­lab­o­ra­tion from the vic­tim.”

Yishai Hol­lan­der, a spokesman for the Ye­sha Coun­cil, de­clined to com­ment on the crit­i­cisms against it.


An IDF sol­dier strug­gles with a set­tler in He­bron last week­end

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