Wednesday, July 6

The Hate Campaign of the Right

Dangerous times have descended on Israel. There has been a certain respite in terrorist activity against Israel. This is due to a number of reasons. The Security Forces have become more efficient in halting terror attacks and there is a partial cease-fire on the Palestinian side. The country is gearing itself for the pullout, which could turn out to be unilateral. Much depends on the Palestinians and the right wing anti-disengagement groups as to the success of the disengagement.

However, there is a matter of great concern. Those arrested for violent demonstrations against the pullout have proven to be ideological fanatics. These fanatics in their fight against disengagement have made cynical use of minors. Many of them have been brainwashed by their parents and rabbinical fanatics. The police have arrested them. Their parents teach them that murder is legitimate and this is very frightening. Their parents have been encouraging their children under arrest to misbehave and cause damage in the name of their cause. Their rabbis have been encouraging violence.

As one jail warden said, the next political murder could arise from these fanatics.

Over the years, and under the various governments in Israel, the settler movement beyond the green line was granted legitimacy and praise for their salt of the earth idealism. The government had encouraged these people to settle the occupied territories. They had tax exemptions, state benefits, lived in palatial like homes and had an abundance of cheap Palestinian labor on their doorstep. They are a spoilt group who received everything that they wanted. Many soldiers had done reserve duty in the occupied areas (including the writer) in order to ensure their safety. Soldiers had to leave their families in order to protect these people from terrorist action. This had cost the state much money. All for the sake of these "pioneers" who had a religious duty to colonize and populate the biblical Land of Israel beyond the 1967 borders.

The various political parties including the National Religious Party, Likud and other right wing splinter groups had given them support in their endeavors. Everything was fine until the intifada had broken out. The folly of these settlements has been realized – but very late! It should never have occurred in the first place after the 1967 June War. After so much violence and the loss of many lives – Israeli as well as Palestinian, Ariel Sharon – the father of the settlement movement realizes that Israel must leave Gaza and the settlers of Gush Katif must return home. All this, despite the ideals of the Likud and maybe a twist of Ariel Sharon's arm by the present Bush Administration, have resulted in the decision for disengagement from Gaza.

The anti-disengagement supporters have become virulent and they may be viewed as an offshoot of right wing religious Zionism. They have been educated to believe that land is more important for the survival of the Jewish People than anything else. They regard themselves as superior to the Arabs and they are racist. There is no doubt that they are a blot on Israeli Society and the damage that they have caused to Israel's standing internationally will take many years to repair.

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