The New York Times visits South Mount Hebron

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: racism, The Settlements, this is personal | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments »

If all opinion makers visited the hills South of Hebron – like NYT’s Nicholas Kristof just did – the occupation would end in a few months.

Hebron city, with a community of extreme settlers in its heart, is bad enough, but South Mount Hebron is even worse. The Palestinians there are as poor as you can find in the West Bank, many of them leaving in caves, and the settlers – many of them from the so-called ‘illigal outposts’ – are as violent as they come. In recent years, the army started escorting the Palestinian kids on their long march to school, because the settlers threw stones at them. You can see it on this video:

10 years ago I did a one month reserve service in South Mount Hebron. Even then, before the second Intifada, the army handed these so called “illegal” settlements all the protection and help they needed in their effort to push the Palestinians out of the area. Soldiers escorted Jewish farmers when they herd their sheep on the tiny Palestinian fields; when fights or riots broke the Jews always went unpunished, while Palestinians were harassed, arrested and sometimes deported to Hebron city. Since then, the settlements grew and the situation of the Palestinians deteriorated.

I served in most areas in the West Bank and Gaza, and the settlers I talked to in South Hebron were by far the most racists I’ve ever met. Some of them were from the US and South Africa; many held an image of a biblical fight between Jewish and Palestinians shepherds, while others saw this as the new Wild West. One head of a family suggested I leave my gun at the base and treat the Palestinians with a whip. “You’ll gain more respect this way,” he said. Most Israelis will resent such statements, and the hills’ settlers have a very bad public image, yet what matter in South Mount Hebron is that the entire system is on the settlers side.

When we finished our term in the area, I told my CO that I would not serve in the occupied territory anymore (as readers of the blog know, I broke this promise last year).

As for the Time’s Nicolas Kristof, his visit to South Hebron lead him to a conclusion that is not often heard on American MSM (my Italic):

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank is widely acknowledged to be unsustainable and costly to the country’s image. But one more blunt truth must be acknowledged: the occupation is morally repugnant.

On one side of a barbed-wire fence here in the southern Hebron hills is the Bedouin village of Umm al-Kheir, where Palestinians live in ramshackle tents and huts. They aren’t allowed to connect to the electrical grid, and Israel won’t permit them to build homes, barns for their animals or even toilets. When the villagers build permanent structures, the Israeli authorities come and demolish them, according to villagers and Israeli human rights organizations.

On the other side of the barbed wire is the Jewish settlement of Karmel, a lovely green oasis that looks like an American suburb. It has lush gardens, kids riding bikes and air-conditioned homes. It also has a gleaming, electrified poultry barn that it runs as a business.

Elad Orian, an Israeli human rights activist, nodded toward the poultry barn and noted: “Those chickens get more electricity and water than all the Palestinians around here.”

It’s fair to acknowledge that there are double standards in the Middle East, with particular scrutiny on Israeli abuses. After all, the biggest theft of Arab land in the Middle East has nothing to do with Palestinians: It is Morocco’s robbery of the resource-rich Western Sahara from the people who live there.

None of that changes the ugly truth that our ally, Israel, is using American military support to maintain an occupation that is both oppressive and unjust.

You can read regular reports on the situation in South Hebron on Jeseph Dana’s blog.


9 Comments on “The New York Times visits South Mount Hebron”

  1. 1 Michael LeFavour said at 2:04 am on July 1st, 2010:

    I wonder if the first so called Jewish “settlers” had those hard attitudes against the Arabs when they arrived, or were those attitudes given to them by endless Arab intransigence and provocations?

    No mention of the fact they are not given electricity because they are there illegally. You have to wear blinders to agree with the emotion this article is intended to invoke.

    That said, I reject racism, even while under constant attack from a certain race. Are you suggesting Americans are racist since most of the Jews you label “settlers”, if we accept your word for it, are from South Africa and America? Obviously you want to imply Apartheid by stating that.

  2. 2 traducteur said at 4:20 am on July 1st, 2010:

    Arab intransigeance … at having their land confiscated, their water sluiced off, their homes demolished, their crops destroyed and their children machine-gunned, you mean? The treatment meted out by the Zionist interlopers to the indigenous people of the land might make anyone intransigeant.

  3. 3 noam said at 4:26 am on July 1st, 2010:

    Michael – I do believe that the West bank is apartheid-land, but I wasn’t trying to imply anything regarding the settlers in South Hebron. It happens that many of the people I met there were from US or SA, but they could have been Israeli-born just the same, and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

  4. 4 Sam Nichols said at 1:08 pm on July 1st, 2010:

    Michael,

    Just to clarify. The settlers in this area, from this specific video, are living there illegally, according to int’l law and also according to Israeli law. They have electricity.

    Palestinians living adjacent to the illegal outpost have proper land ownership documents for the land they live on. They have no electricity, because their electrical infrastructure was demolished by the Israeli military. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qknYiNTKZ-c

    Also, (shameless self-promotion), I am blogging from the south Hebron hills as well.

  5. 5 Raphael said at 4:23 am on July 3rd, 2010:

    I just want to marvel at the beauty of this quote:

    Michael LeFavour: “That said, I reject racism, even while under constant attack from a certain race.

    Perfect. Almost absolutely perfect. The only way it could have been better would have been if every single sentence Michael LeFavour ever posted here that contained the words “Arab” or “Arabs” had been in the same comment.

  6. 6 Michael LeFavour said at 2:30 pm on July 4th, 2010:

    traducteur,

    You seem to have lost something in the ‘translation’ of what has really been happening. As a translator, you should stick to something you know.

    Arab intransigence… “at having their land confiscated” What land of theirs has been confiscated? Israel does not occupy a single meter of another sovereign’s land, though you and your ilk want the Jews gone so they can claim something that is not theirs and they do not deserve.

    “their water sluiced off” Israelis pay for their water and they pay for the water the Arabs calling themselves Palestinians steal too. Hundreds of illegal Arab wells are sluicing off the supply along with hundreds of illegal taps on Israeli built pipelines. If the Arabs stopped killing Jews, maybe the Israelis would bring in more tanker water in a timely fashion instead of waiting at check points. The region is in a drought. It has less to do with Israel than the lack of rainfall. Even so, after 1967 Israel developed wells for the Arabs and have not reduced the amount of water agreed to at negotiations. How have the Jews been repaid for their kindness?

    “their homes demolished” Their homes would not be demolished if they were built legally and if they were not sitting on top of tunnels, arms caches, and bomb making facilities. Try raising children that do not blow themselves up in crowds of Jews too.

    “their crops destroyed” A bunch of leftist idiots bought productive greenhouses for the Arabs in Gaza and what did they do with them? Part of building a civil society would include tractors, irrigation, and chemicals instead of RPGs, suicide belts, and rockets. Try farming on land that you purchase, just like everyone else, and your crops will not be touched.

    “their children machine-gunned, you mean?” The way you spin the yarn Israelis go after the little ones, huh? Can you point to any Jews massacring children the way Tali Hatuel’s children were machine gunned down? Didn’t think so.

    ” Zionist interlopers to the indigenous people of the land” The Jews are the indigenous people of the land. No other people have survived since antiquity with a language, a culture, and a connection to the land. The world recognized this at about the same time the Ottoman Empire was destroyed. History since then has proven beyond a doubt that the need for a sanctuary exists for the Jewish people to be safe from the rest of us, Translator, upsetting as the thought must be for you that Jews will never go willingly to the gas chambers again.

  7. 7 Michael LeFavour said at 2:37 pm on July 4th, 2010:

    Noam,

    No doubt you do believe that Judea and Samaria are Apartheid bantustans, the question is why are you so ignorant and why do you accept and fawn over real Apartheid from the racist people that do not deserve your efforts of championing for them? How many Jews live in Palestine (Jordan)? How many are allowed to live in Gaza? Where is Islam equal to Judaism? Only in Israel, and the only bantustan in the Middle East is Israel itself, a place where Jews are confined and boycotted under threat of violence if they are caught outside of the place without a good reason. This is classic Soviet turn speak and projection. The slander you use cheapens the ugly memory of what the real thing was.

    Do you have any statistical evidence to reinforce your ‘implication’ that the Jewish communities were from South Africa, an obvious desire to make the spurious charges of Apartheid and racism more believable? What about genocide and ethnic cleansing? Do you believe in fairy tales?

  8. 8 Michael LeFavour said at 2:47 pm on July 4th, 2010:

    Sam,

    First, according to the Vienna Convention, under the section dealing with the termination of treaties it states that once a right is given, such as the right for Jews to settle anywhere they want inside of the boundaries delineated by the Anglo-American Convention on Palestine, that right does not expire with the termination of the treaty, which the Mandate for Palestine was. Can you source a relevant body of law that is binding on Israel, be specific, that shows the Jewish people living in the Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria are their illegally? Can you name the recognized sovereign which Jews are violating the land ownership of? Throwing the term “international law” around does not add credibility to your case unless international law is actually on your side. I am not interested in opinions, just a relevant text of law, please.

    As to these particular Jews, can you source the Israeli law they are violating and provide any better authoritative documentation that they are living there illegally, besides you just saying so? You know the Muslims involved by name, do you know the Jews by name? And have you ever escorted Jewish children living in Sderot anywhere? Don’t they deserve any pity from your brand of Christian outreach?

    Second, I do not believe you when you say that the Arabs have legal land documents and do not have electricity. If the village has been built legally and it was approved it either has electricity or the grid is being brought to it in an orderly fashion under restrictions of security, brought on by the Arabs themselves, not haphazardly or without inspection. Can you show proof of your land ownership claim? Have you actually seen the deeds, or did some Arab too happy to use you as a Christian stooge just say he has them, and you, too willing to be play the dupe accepted their words? Have you ever heard of taqqiya? I don’t know the details, I can’t know them without further research or phone calls, but I am certain you are not filling in the details unless it is making Israel look bad. What sort of Christian would do that? The Jews did not kill Christ, Sam, get over it. Conversely, the Muslims will kill Sam if he tries to convert any of them once they have the power to do so and Sam is no longer needed as a prop.

  9. 9 Michael LeFavour said at 2:59 pm on July 4th, 2010:

    Raphael,

    I did say this, “That said, I reject racism, even while under constant attack from a certain race.”

    The Jews now living in their historical homeland, all races of Jews….Arab, Caucasian, African, Asian, and more have been under constant bloody attack by predominantly one race of people for over a century, the Arabs. Yet I reject racism. What is so magical about that?

    Since there is no such people called the Palestinians in history I don’t know how to refer to the Arabs suddenly wanting to be known as Palestinians. I often type out “the Arabs calling themselves Palestinians” and frequently just refer to them as “Arabs” for brevity when the context is clear. I challenge you to go back and find anything I have written that is racist in nature. I will clear it up right here and now. At the same time I challenge you to count the number of times the Arab race is mentioned in the original Palestine Charter and find anything resembling that overt racism in any Israeli foundational document. What a perfect irony that a dupe siding with insidious racists implies that I am one, when I am here to oppose racism and bigotry.