Sunday, May 14, 2006

Marginalizing Themselves

I looked at my newspaper this morning, and I was sickened by what I saw. Granted, I read Haaretz, the most left wing of all papers, but these are the facts all the same. The army needs to send jeeps and soliders to protect Palestinian children from settlers on their way home from school?? Due to earlier problems, the army had sent four soldiers to accompany the children. But even those four soldiers were not enough to stop the children from getting attacked, so now they are accompanied by five jeeps and ten soldiers.
The settlers often complain that they are being "marginalized" or "demonized" by the government in order to increase the public's approval of the disengagement plans. One case that comes to mind is the olive trees that were uprooted. The popular story is that settlers went in and destroyed Arab-owned olive trees. While no settlers were ever caught or arrested doing this, that is how the story stands. Arutz7 reported, and showed a video, of Arabs pruning their own trees. Yet another example of "settler demonization". I gave a quick glance at Arutz7 but could not find this story reported anywhere. Is it not news-worthy? Or is there no positive way to present it so it's not presented?
During such a time that settlers are being scrutinized so thoroughly, it is on them to act beyond reproach. As a protester to the Gaza disengagement, I believed the residents of Gush Katif had the moral high ground. The government sent the people there, they are the most highly patriotic citizens, etc. I was truly disgusted at how they were regarded in the papers overall, as being "obstacles to peace". etc. I don't feel the same about the residents of the West Bank. On a visit to a West bank settlement, I asked a resident why they dont have a fence. "Our fence is as far as an M16 can shoot", was his reply. That is not the answer of a person who wants to live peacefully.
Obviously I don't believe all West bank settlers have this same attitude. But the quiet ones arent the ones getting any press. With the support for the next disengagement at a very shaky point (only 60 members of the coalition support it; they need 61), it is imperative for the settlers to regain the moral high ground they have lost. They need to dismantle problmatic outposts, to publicly condemn acts of terror performed by settlers on Palestinians, and to show the country that they are not the "obstacle to peace" that they currently are portrayed as. If they continue as they are they will lose the support that they have left, at a time when they need all the support they can get.


Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

While I agree with 3/4 of what you said, that settler's answer that the fence is as far as his M16 can fire is a very good strategic answer. He's thinking offensively, no defensively. That offensive thinking is what's going to keep him and his family alive. The fence is not.

9:33 PM  
Blogger stillruleall said...

The man who told me his fence is as far as he can shoot said a lot more that showed his attitude as a trigger happy person just waiting for an arab to come by that he can shoot. that one line just stuck in my head.

10:36 PM  
Blogger menachem said...

i was once on shmira, and i saw a 10 year old arab girl walking home from school getting pelted with small rocks and spit on by one of baruch marzel's kids. she just kept on walking with her head down, with a look of terror on her face. i put myself between her and the kid, and shouted at his mother (who was right there, not doing anything) "control your kid!" she stared at me for 2 seconds, and then looked away without saying or doing anything.

11:40 AM  
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11:44 PM  

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