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Israeli Settlers and the 'Price Tag' CampaignTim King Salem-News.com
Religious extremists in Israel are a threat toward Palestinians, police and even the IDF.
(HAWARA / SALEM) - Religion and pathology make a dangerous mix; that's how Israel's Haaretz begins their article today about the West Bank's far-right extremist settlers in Yizthar and the "price tag" campaign.
It is an effort born in retaliation to government restrictions on settlement building.
Settlers regarded as extremists in Israeli media, launched the "price tag" campaign after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a temporary freeze in West Bank construction late last year.
Most who are watching the situation closely, say Netanyahu's move is little more than appeasement; any time settlement building is restricted in one area, it is typically offset by more building in another area.
For those who don't already know, the settlements amount to land grabs.
They are modern day colonizing enterprises, being built on the tiny amount of remaining Palestinian land that exists.
The settlers constantly threaten and attack Palestinian people. They use these intrusive subdivisions to wage war against those whose families have occupied the same homes for generations, and the land far longer.
Moreover, the settlements are occupied by the radical extreme Zionists; other citizens of Israel are denied.
Martyrs & Zionists; Building & Destroying
This designation of settlements for only the fundamentalist sects in Israel seems like a tough way to build national unity. We keep up on groups like the Christian Peacemaker Teams who have members based in the West Bank.
These dedicated Christians escort little Palestinian kids to school to protect them from routine harassment and attacks by adult settlers while en route. It has happened countless, documented times. This type of aggressive hostile behavior, like the concept of Zionism itself, does not build unity in Israel. On the contrary, it fuels animosity with non-secular Jews.
But it is the audacity of building settlements highly illegal under international law, while destroying existing Palestinian homes every single day, that makes the word genocide undeniable. In my view no person could raise a real argument to that. It is racism and elimination, and the hate for Palestinians in some Israelis is so thick you could slice it like bread. Fortunately they are only part of Israel, and as Americans were horrified to have Bush at the helm, many citizens of Israel feel exactly the same about Netanyahu.
Heck, average non-Zionist Jewish people who are not bent on the racist Zionist movement aren't allowed to live in these places, as they apparently aren't Jewish enough and the government apparently wants to keep these weirdos out in the middle of nowhere, too bad they didn't simply prevent them from building on Palestinian land in the first place.
Their drive to overtake the remaining Palestinian land in the name of Israel is strong.
You know who has been behind much of the push behind the settlements? Interestingly, Zionist Jews from Russia. There are many in Israel. The bulldozer operator who killed American college student Rachel Corrie at Haifa was a Russian/Israeli. Talk about a Martyr; in Rachel's case it isn't restricted to the Middle East or Palestine.
She is the type of selfless person who gave her life to try to halt Israel's constant violent destruction of decades old Palestinian homes. This takes place as the settlements go up. I find it hard to not see it as one of the most cruel and evil legacies of the American government in particular, the "staunch unwavering ally" of Israel and consequently, this seemingly irreversible destruction of the beautiful, graceful people of Palestine.
There are many of us who will remain increasingly vigilant in their regard. The people of Palestine are not forgotten for a moment here, neither are the good people of Israel who work with us in covering the stories and raising the awareness.
Since occupying the region in 1947 and maintaining a series of wars against its neighbors, Israel has expanded to included more than 95% of Palestine, based on borders that existed in the years following WWII.
Israel's Dangerous Religious Extremists
Israeli settlers believe their role in life is to seize the remaining amount of real estate that is Palestine today.
These settlers are related to a religious extremist philosophy known as Zionism.
This belief, that Jews are entitled through Biblical scripture to inherit this region as "The Chosen People", has led to the untimely deaths of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and TOO many Israelis caught in the crossfire OF THIS MADNESS have died as well when they should not have.
The occupation has inspired what western families know well as terrorist activity.
To offer a modern western definition: if a crime is committed by an Arab, it is called "terrorism". If a crime is committed by an Israeli, it is called "self defense".
A terrorist suspect can lose every right that ever existed under the U.S. Constitution. Of course U.S. Congress recently signed a document showing that they have, truly, more of a commitment to Israel than they do to the United States, which writer Anthony Lawson describes as treason, but I digress. Even when the UN Goldstone Report documenting war crimes against Israel was presented, it was rejected by the U.S.
Israel uses high precision weapons targeting systems to strike schools and hospitals, nothing is sacred, that was the story in Gaza.
While they have fired bombs and rockets, most of the weapons used by Palestinians against Israelis have been rocks and stones.
The Palestinian people have been eliminated with the use of U.S. taxpayer funded weapons, supplied in perpetuity since the dawn of the Jewish state.
There are no holds barred; Israel strikes at will, eliminates even children by several hundred at a time, and never ever is held accountable for any of its own actions. The United Nations says Israel committed war crimes in Gaza during the winter campaign in 2008/2009 known as "Operation Cast Lead". It was an unspeakable act of terror against the civilian population of Gaza.
Israel says they struck terrorists, but local and visiting European doctors said all they saw streaming through the doors of the few hospitals and clinics that had not been targeted and destroyed in the attack, were families, some with nearly indescribable wounds.
Settler Violence in Yitzhar
Israel's Jerusalem Post reports that the incident near Yitzhar began last Tuesday afternoon when a soldier spotted a group of youthful settlers moving en masse toward a small body of water that's off limits to the settlers due to its proximity to a Palestinian village.
The Post reported, "The soldiers asked the youths to return to the settlement, and after several minutes of arguing, a larger group arrived, including some in masks, who began hurling stones and light bulbs filled with paint at the soldiers. One soldier was lightly wounded when a bulb hit him in the face."
Pretty serious stuff, perhaps this is the type of activity needed to help Israel realize that its own internal security may have more to do with Zionist settlers than unarmed Palestinian peace protesters.
The Yizthar settlers reportedly "stormed through Hawara", venting their anger toward what they called "a police crusade against the settlers".
Haaretz reports that settlers surrounded a local home owned by Palestinians, hurling rocks through windows, according to the residents, as they called for help through a loudspeaker.
The attacking settlers seemed intent on harming the Palestinian family in neighboring Hawara, but they reportedly ran for the hills when Palestinians, hearing the cries for help, converged on the area.
This was followed by an Israeli police raid in Yitzhar early Thursday morning.
Seven residents who were suspected of involvement in the "price-tag" attacks on Palestinians were immediately arrested. Shortly after that police located the other four and took them into custody.
Yitzhar has been at the forefront of the settler movement's 'price tag' campaign, calling for violent retaliation over government restrictions on Jewish building in the West Bank. Residents have launched numerous attacks on Palestinians, including an arson attack on a mosque in December 2009.
The IDF said last week that they will take "serious steps to curb settle violence at Yitzhar." They will use the assistance of local police and the Shin Bet security service's Jewish unit. They are specifically set up to thwart violence by extremist settlers.
The settlers arrested included senior settlement officials. According to the Jerusalem Post, they were released shortly after their arrests. This is never how it seems to go for Palestinian officials.
They often are arrested and not heard from for long periods. Sometimes Palestinian children disappear, taken away in the middle of the night, never to be seen again.
Our own Photographer Dexter Phoenix spent part of a day with a family in the West Bank whose young son is one of those very children.
He was taken away in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers for having participated in a peace demonstration.
Examining the 'Price Tag Campaign'
The International Solidarity Movement cited in a news release how, according to the UN, settlers use the ‘Price Tag’ campaign to exercise systematic violence against Palestinian civilians where there have been attempts to evacuate settlement outposts.
However, it seems that recently it is also being used as intimidation strategy in response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a partial freeze of settlement construction.
The strategy, according to ISM, "emerged due to the decreasing support of unauthorized outposts and is launched by radical settler groups in order for the Palestinians all over the Occupied Territories to pay the price in form of attacks every time the settlers feel they are being mistreated by the Israeli authorities."
They say the strategic attacks have contributed to the displacement of entire Palestinian neighborhoods, both temporary and permanent.
I write frequently about the many Israeli people who are just as concerned about the ongoing annihilation of the Palestinians as the rest of us.
Their voices seem to be growing louder, and groups like the Jerusalem Post, not exactly a left wing organization, are printing more and more content that acknowledges the problems brought about by the extreme settlers.
The settlers of course, feel put out. An entitlement philosophy this massive and violent involves big expectations, and the settlers are standing in opposition to their own government.
The extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel stated in response to the arrests, that the Israel Defense Forces were "out to get" the settlers.
The Post says that according to Yitzhar residents, "IDF troops began harassing groups of visitors who wanted to tour the area, and prevented the visitors from entering the springs near the settlement."
The residents stated that at a certain point, "soldiers tried to hold back one of the residents, which created upheaval among the settlers."
'Price tag' Attack in Sheikh Jarrah
As the photo shows, settlers sprayed a car belonging to a Palestinian family from the neighborhood ofn Sheikh Jarrah with the slogan associated with the ‘Price Tag’ campaign.
Nadine Sabbagh told members of the International Solidarity Movement the day after her family’s home was attacked by settlers, that the attack started at around midnight and continued for about three hours.
"After the settlers broke into her house, they kicked her pregnant aunt in her stomach and cut her brother in the neck with a knife. The attack continued as the settlers cut Nadine’s cousin on his arm with a knife while they were violently pushing her mother and another aunt."
By any clear definition of the word, this family was "terrorized" by the Israeli settlers. Western people may not like the use of the word, but it is a fact in this case.
"Her aunt told us that she strained her shoulder in the attack, and it will take at least two weeks for it to fully recover."
ISM says one settler brought a gun and used it to threaten Nadine: "“He told me; if you will not stop talking I will kill you." But Nadine attempted to push the gun out of the settlers hand at that point. The male settler responded by striking her in the face.
The Sabbagh family says this is the first time their home has been directly attacked by settlers, and it is a sign of worsening violence. This particular incident happened last Christmas Eve.
The wave of settler violence continued throughout the day, when a group of 20 young settlers attacked a group of Palestinians in front of the occupied Gawi family home with stones.
"At first" ISM reports, the Palestinians managed to push the attackers out of the neighborhood, only for them to return shortly afterward, in even bigger numbers, attacking again, this time more intensively.
In this event, four Palestinians, three of them children, were hit by stones thrown by settlers and a French man who was attacked by a settler received head injuries.
But the worst insult to the Palestinians was yet to come.
When an Israeli ambulance arrived, the medics refused to treat the injured children and transport them to the hospital. An ambulance from the Red Crescent had to be called in order for the injured to receive necessary treatment. Thank goodness there is a Muslim ambulance system, or the children would have laid there and died in front of the idle Israeli ambulance crews. It is sickening.
If the Israelis belong to any international ambulance investigations, I hope this launches an inquiry and that anything to do with Israel is cut loose like a bad date in a nightclub bathroom. Their crews and practices are inhumane and need a serious lesson. In fact, let's not forget our story from about two weeks ago, that involved Israelis blocking Palestinian fire crews from reaching burning buildings, until they were too far engulfed to save.
And yet even in that twisted context, there are glimmers of hope... The Israelis themselves hold the keys, and it seems that at least one responsible decision has been made.
Israel Sets up Task Force to Deal with Settlers
A decision to establish a task force comes amid concerns in the Israeli Central Command, that attacks against Palestinians will escalate in the coming months as the government debates a possible extension of the West Bank construction freeze.
Israeli settlers are training terrorist teams in cells in several parts of Israel. These operations stand to threaten Palestinians in particular, and they also represent a serious threat toward Israeli authorities.
In a rare show of grace, an Israeli military spokesman said Monday, that a task force is being comprised of several 'Border Police' companies, trained and specialized in dealing with public disturbances, to deal with the settlers.
"The task force will be charged with enforcing law and order and preventing attacks by settlers against Palestinians in the area," one officer said.
Recent additional incidents tied to the 'price tag campaign' includes two Palestinian vehicles being set ablaze near Kedumim.
They were spray-painted with the words 'price tag' – indicating that the rampage was indeed the work of settlers angry over the government’s plan to curb settlement construction.
Photos from various sources courtesy: Mazin’s Blog - The Sieve of Truth
 Sec-27-2009: Settlers’ ‘Price Tag’ campaign hits Sheikh Jarrah
 Nov-13-2009: Proche Orient : L’arrogance raciste juive
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
He holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu, India.
The notorious list comprising Tim's ancestors includes Pedro de Alvarado, the lieutenant of Hernando Cortez of Spain; King Phillip IV, Eleanor of Aquitaine and William the Conqueror. Perhaps most interestingly, King John; the dark force in the story Robin Hood, and also the last Spanish governor of California, a real person fictionalized as the arch rival of the character in Zorro, are in reality both Tim's multiple-great grandfathers.
Others include a Confederate officer in the U.S. Civil War and a decorated 'hero' of the Mexican-American War and the so-called 'Indian Wars'. In fact on the east coast, Tim's lineage with the Slaughter and King families, pre-dates the Mayflower and several members of his family were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. He says his family's past; some of which is very dark; some quite chivalrous, presents a certain responsibility, and that in part drives his desire to see that people in today's world are not exploited or allowed to suffer in silence as victims of Human Rights violations, as people of previous times were.
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
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