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A view from across the green line: A Yishuv resident’s urgent plea


This is an email sent by Yochanan Visser, founder and director of the group, Missing Peace, which I am posting with his permission. Visser made Aliyah from the Netherlands in 2000.

When I saw my daughter (who was in Hebron at the time Shalhevet Pass was murdered) crying last night when we watched [the news], I decided I have had enough.

Enough of the barbarity of those who would slaughter a three-month old baby, but also enough of the relentless campaign that caused the death of three Jewish children and their parents.

I am not only talking here about the incitement in Palestinian society but about the national and international demonization campaign against Jews like me. Those living in Yehuda, Shomron or East Jerusalem.

“Settlers” are being treated only in one way; we are less than human beings. Our villages our branded” illegal” and in the end WE ourselves have become “illegal”.

Last year, during the launch of the Missing Peace project in Amsterdam, the first question asked by a journalist (Ha’aretz’s Cnaan Lipshitz) was how an information desk run by a director living in the West Bank could be reliable.

Get it?  By living in the West Bank one is automatically an unreliable outcast. Do not think this is only the opinion of a leftist Israeli journalist, I know of European officials who think the same.

Now yesterday we saw government officials as usual calling for international condemnation of this barbaric act.

But last week we saw that the same government contributed to this campaign by using plastic bullets against Jews for the first time , during the evacuation of an outpost.

The demonization campaign against Jews living across the green line has to be stopped – vilification which has, tragically, spilled over to Israel as a whole.

Regards Yochanan

 

39 replies »

  1. “Get it? By living in the West Bank one is automatically an unreliable outcast. Do not think this is only the opinion of a leftist Israeli journalist, I know of European officials who think the same.”

    Perhaps if the settler movement had talked with the rest of Israeli society 30 years ago in order to reach a national consensus on the future of the West Bank instead of talking only to God, you would today have more sympathy and support from those segments of society who you have alienated for so long. A large segment of Israeli society, all fervent Zionists no less than you, have seen their priorities for building a strong Zionist state – education, welfare, justice, transportation, etc, etc, – all given low priority because of a minority that will not listen and will not compromise, and they are reacting as any second-class citizens in any country would react. Instead of writing these stirring but empty words I suggest that for once you start listening instead of preaching.

  2. “Perhaps if the settler movement had talked with the rest of Israeli society 30 years ago…”

    Because no one is better qualified to act as spokesman for “the rest of Israel society” than someone who spews Stormfrontesque diatribes against Orthodox Jews.

    “A large segment of Israeli society … have seen their priorities for building a strong Zionist state … all given low priority because of a minority…”

    Yeah. The Protocols of the Elders of Gush Katif.

    “…I suggest that for once you start listening instead of preaching.”

    I worry about an impending shortage in my supply of irony meters.

  3. In the 1980s I was indignant about HaAm im HaGolan – for me the nation certainly wasn’t with the Golan then. I still believed that we could have exchanged land for peace. Now I’m fully with the Golan after the knowledge of our ‘peace partners’ and their motivations and their limitations gained over the intervening years.

    Now Yochanan’s letter fills me with indignation – why should our chances for a peaceful future be spoiled by his ambitions, and why should we protect his home when he won’t accept our laws? Perhaps in twenty years time the Palestinian leadership and their negativity & antagonism will bring me to support him as well but I doubt it.

  4. Margie

    yochanan is not the problem…why dont you see that?

    do you honestly believe that if the west bank was judenfrei you would have peace?

    what happened when gaza became judenfrei?

    take your head out of the sand

  5. Thanks for asking, walt.

    Of course I don’t think we’d have peace if Yochanan behaved differently. I don’t think the Palestinian leadership has any intention of making peace but we have to give them the chance. Their bad behaviour shouldn’t be exploited to excuse our bad behaviour. I’m fully as aware as you are of their lack of morality and their blatant racism.

    Yochanan wants to be free to scoff at our laws and still be treated as a favoured son. He wants to make his own laws and have our protection. It doesn’t work anywhere else and it shouldn’t work here. I don’t demonise Yochanan. He demonises us.

  6. “I don’t think the Palestinian leadership has any intention of making peace but we have to give them the chance.”

    Same thing tried for the umpteenth time will give a different result, huh? Walt’s right, you need to look around you.

  7. margie,

    not even gonna go deep into history…how about last year…the freeze

    when did the pa finally come to the table?

    when the freeze was set to end

    in the meantime, they have continued using their tv channel to spread hate and lies about jews and israelis…they have inflamed

    its over

    did you read abbas’ statement?

    ever see jews handing out candy after the death of even one arab….one terrorist?

    its over….THEY WANT YOU DEAD….WAKE UP

    jews are not christians…we dont have the concept of turning the other cheek…in fact, if one knows that someone is coming to kill you…you have the right to get him first

    GET THEM FIRST…NOW

    thank you

  8. Settlements like Itamar should never have been permitted, IMO – they act to make the prospects of any “land for peace” deal very difficult, though not impossible – should an agreement ever be reached, given its location Itamar will be evacuated unless the Palestinian state ,should it ever arise (increasingly doubtful) agrees to change its platform and permit Jews to live on the WB.

    The problem is that successive Israeli governments never really had the guts to stand behind the “land for peace” slogan and all it implies. “If you don’t know where your going, that’s where you get to”. (Y. Berra). They either had to mean it, and keep the WB largely free of Jewish settlement, or decide they didn’t mean it, and make sure that it was clear which settlements would be built and kept.

    However, wherever we have arrived at, that’s where we are. Certainly the large towns and suburbs around Jerusalem will nor be handed over to the Arabs. In addition, like Margie, I would never hand back an inch of the Golan – it was virtually empty when Syria attacked in 1967, and the Syrian leadership is the most treacherous and vicious of all the Arab countries.

    The Palestinian leadership must assume responsibility for this atrocity since the murders of the Fogels were carried out by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is part of Fatah, the organization represented by Abbas etc.

    Murdering Israelis, specially tiny children, will not advance their case, no matter what they think of Itamar and the settlers there. They will either have to deal with the Al Aqsa Martyrs brigade, or find themselves lumped in with them beyond what decent people think of as human beings.

    At the same time, I find myself pondering Motti Fogel’s eulogy for his brother, and his fear that these murders will be used to advance various political causes:

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/thousands-turn-out-in-jerusalem-for-funerals-of-itamar-terror-victims-1.348895

    Motti Fogel, brother of Udi Fogel, eulogized his younger brother but warned that his death cannot be used as a tool in a national struggle.

    “All of the slogans we hear are trying to efface the simple fact that you’re dead, and nothing can efface that. This funeral has to be a private affair,” Fogel said, adding: “A man dies to himself, to his children. Udi, you are no a national event. You’re horrible death mustn’t make your life into a tool.”

  9. MindTheCrap…….The settlers talk to GOD,and who do you talk to mindthecrap,to subversive NGO’s who are hell bent on bringing Israeli society down,or Haaretz that competes with the Guardian to see who can demonize Israel more.Or the ISM or other foreign subversives that Israel stupidly allows into Israel.Or perhaps to that dumb woman Harriet Sheeridioticwood.

  10. NO LAND FOR PEACE,land is not a commodity that you can barter with.

    Land for peace has not worked in the past,Leaving Gaza was a tragic mistake that the the people of Shderot and the surroundings have paid and are paying dearly for.

    Leaving The Golan will be a another tragic mistake only thousands of times worse than leaving Gaza.

    Land for peace definitely won’t work in the future.

    It should be Peace for Peace.

  11. The apatite comes with the eating,the palestinian apatite seems to get bigger and bigger.It’s bout time we stopped feeding them.

  12. T-G-I-A-I:
    “The settlers talk to HASHEM.”
    Do you mean the settler rabbis who wrote the “King’s Torah” ? What is their attitude towards children? חילול השם בפרהסיה

  13. AKUS:

    “Settlements like Itamar should never have been permitted, ………
    The problem is that successive Israeli governments never really had the guts …..”

    Oh dear, words of treason and reason like this this will not endear you to the Cifwatch faithful.

  14. MTC – maybe you’re too young to remember so far back, but 30 years ago settlers were part of the consensus of Israeli society. In fact they were admired pioneers to the vast majority.

    30 years ago, nobody thought in terms of a Palestinian state either.

    There has been a shift in public opinion in general in Israeli society since then, but whatever one’s political opinions are, I think it is wrong to demonise people who went to live in the territories captured in 67 because they -with the encouragement of the rest of the country – believed that by doing so they were performing a service to the country.

    If, one day, some or all of the people today living in those regions have to be evacuated, neither they nor the rest of Israeli society will find that process made any the easier by their having been made persona non grata.

  15. Isrealinurse:

    “MTC – maybe you’re too young to remember so far back, but 30 years ago settlers were part of the consensus of Israeli society. In fact they were admired pioneers to the vast majority.”

    Wrong – it is you who doesn’t remember.

    “30 years ago, nobody thought in terms of a Palestinian state either.”

    Wrong again.

    “I think it is wrong to demonise people who went to live in the territories captured in 67 because they -with the encouragement of the rest of the country – believed that by doing so they were performing a service to the country.”

    I don’t “demonise” (although I would prefer to use the term ‘criticize’) the settlers because of their beliefs and their sincerity, but rather because of their refusal to understand that the majority of Israelis live on the other side of the Green Line and have different priorities. Many believe that building and maintaining an exemplary education system, for example, is no less important for the future of the country than building a settlement but they have been “demonized” by the settlers because they did not focus entirely on the settlements. The settlers have ignored any rational argument and are now reaping the results of their errors.

    “If, one day, some or all of the people today living in those regions have to be evacuated, neither they nor the rest of Israeli society will find that process made any the easier by their having been made persona non grata.”

    No, it is the Israeli silent majority that Has been “persona non grata” for 40 years, ignored while watching $100 billion of their money poured into a project that had no defined objective and no inherent logic.

  16. mtc

    you have no place at the table

    like the jvp and j street…you are hereby exiled

    all leftists are insane and evil

    you shall be cast out and left behind, as was done to the majority of jews in mitzrayim

    yes…some are too far gone to do teshuva

    you, finkeldick, capo dicky, chumpsky and the rest have been placed in cherem by me

    rabbi walt kovacs

    thank you

  17. rabbi walt kovacs:

    A rabbi ? How embarrassing that is for Judaism considering that you are incapable of addressing a logical argument. Threats and curses – that’s all you know. No wonder so many Israelis have placed anything to do with religion in a cherem. A total lack of any moral values whatsoever :
    “Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement, wrote in his book “The King’s Torah” that even babies and children can be killed if they pose a threat to the nation.”

  18. Walt
    There is room at the table for all of us. I disagree with you on a lot and I disagree with MTC on a lot that he says. I disagree with my husband and my friends and family and I agree with each of you on some points.

    We all contribute. It is to our resounding credit that we aren’t good little soldiers all superficially agreeing with one version of the truth and confused as hell underneath because we know that some of the received wisdom is built on a precept we know to be wrong.

    Jew: Margie

  19. Let’s all remember who we are and who we’re dealing with. It’s easy to cause a break in a family or a nation and difficult to heal it. We have bigger enemies than each other.

  20. Margie:

    “Let’s all remember who we are and who we’re dealing with. It’s easy to cause a break in a family or a nation and difficult to heal it. We have bigger enemies than each other.”

    Agreed 100%, but the consensus on this site is that the best way to deal with our true enemies is to stifle all opposition, discussion and opinion amongst Jews in the “only democracy in the Middle East”. I think that this philosophy is related to what I said above about the settlers’ attitude towards the majority of Israelis. When someone believes that he has a monopoly on truth and morality and speaks in the name of God, then understanding and compromise become elusive if not impossible.

  21. MindOfCrap, What ever a rabbi may say PALES in comparison to the islamofascist imams, sheiks, ayatollahs say to their mobs who go out and stab, shoot, rocket, hijack, behead, poison, threaten, gouge with overpriced oil.

    I CHALLENGE you MindOfCrap.

    What has any Jew done on the scale of the islamofascist hoards who wreck jihad on the ENTIRE WORLD?

  22. MTC – We are a democracy. One person, one vote.

    If your ‘Israeli silent majority*’ (as you put it) was so disapproving of the minority living over the ‘green line’, they had ample opportunity and the resources to do something about it. They didn’t, so ‘shooting the messenger’ now seems like a coward’s way out to me.

    It is worth remembering that all shades of political opinion have been involved in ‘settlement’ building – both Left and Right.

    *I hope you realise that this turn of phrase sounds as though you do not consider those living beyond the ‘green line’ Israeli. Maybe you didn’t mean it to, but that’s how it comes across.

  23. Margie:

    Are you taking hair-splitting lessons from AKUS ? I have no idea what you are talking about. I said ” the majority of Israelis live on the other side of the Green Line ..”, i.e. a minority live on the other side.

    The problem is that Israel has had no strong leadership for the last 30 years. Each successive govt has sold out the nation’s interests for their own narrow benefit, i.e. caved into various minority groups in order to stay in power. And since parties that identified with the settlers were interested in little else but expanding the settlements their support could be bought for relatively small amounts of money. You are correct that both sides – left and right – took the easy way politically. But as the saying goes – “מה שקונים בזול עולה ביוקר” . This political expediency was not backed by any clear policy. We know what the “hard-core” settlers want but what is the Likud policy for the West Bank and its Arab inhabitants – annexation, autonomy, or what ? The Likud has never declared a concrete plan or agenda, therefore from a Likud point-of-view the settlement program is a tactic for achieving …. nothing.

  24. MindTheCrap

    i

    2 Votes

    Quantcast

    AKUS:

    “Settlements like Itamar should never have been permitted, ………
    The problem is that successive Israeli governments never really had the guts …..”

    Oh dear, words of treason and reason like this this will not endear you to the Cifwatch faithful.

    Words like these got me banned from CiF.

    I have no fear it will happen on CiFWatch.

  25. AKUS:
    You have talent ! I often say much the same and I am still alive and kicking 🙂
    I’m glad to see that we agree on something – my comment at 9:56AM is very similar to yours at 8:49 AM.

  26. It’s the duty of every Jewish patriot, secular and deeply religious alike, to reclaim Jewish land for future generations.

  27. Profil97:

    “It’s the duty of every Jewish patriot, secular and deeply religious alike, to reclaim Jewish land for future generations.”

    At what cost ?

  28. MTC,

    “At what cost ”

    There are several key dimensions at work.

    Aside from religious and emotional considerations attached to Jewish land, Israel’s geopolitical and military considerations trump any talk of [re]surrendering parts of Judea and Samaria to Arab rule.

    The IDF requires strategic depth there to ward off Iranian-backed attempts to open yet another base of operations close by.

    Israel must effectively contain this contagion emanating from Tehran until fog lifts and things on the ground get more manageable.

    This is a sensible way to go given all that volatility in Egypt and elsewhere and beyond in the region.

  29. Profil 97,

    I don’t want to know your Kab”a.
    Must be very low.

    My duty is first and foremost for my family and my morals!
    Second for Freedom and our way of life as well as Justice.
    Lastly it is for my countrymen and women.

    Land does not even come fourth.

    The land belongs to no one but to mother nature!

  30. Profil97:

    “Aside from religious and emotional considerations attached to Jewish land, Israel’s geopolitical and military considerations trump any talk of [re]surrendering parts of Judea and Samaria to Arab rule.”

    What does that have to do with settlements ?

  31. ItsikDeWembley

    “I don’t want to know your Kab”a.
    Must be very low”

    Must we always badmouth each other to get somewhere? This is totally uncalled for.

    I don’t feel like rebuking your less flattering words given the nature of this subject. Also, I reply only to relevant and intelligent comments.

    That’s all.

  32. MTC,

    “What does that have to do with settlements”

    The presence of Jewish townships in Judea and Samaria serves many purposes and positively impacts several key dimensions, ranging from purely religious to national security interests.

  33. AKUS,

    “Settlements like Itamar should never have been permitted, IMO – they act to make the prospects of any ‘land for peace’ deal very difficult, though not impossible…”

    Ribbono shel olam, this is simply incomprehensible! Is it too much to ask people to open their eyes? To pay attention to all the proofs we were given throughout the 2000s, that there is nothing for Israel to gain from ceding lands or freezing the building? What’s it going to take for people to realize we’re surrounded by millions of people who want nothing less than EVERYTHING we have?!

    I feel like banging my head against the wall, but instead I’ll just express my thanks to HaShem for showing me why I say the blessing Pokeah Ivrim (“Giver of sight to the blind”) every morning. Bless Him for opening the eyes of a large portion of Israeli Jews. Now all that’s needed is for this large portion to arrive to power.

  34. profil97:

    “The presence of Jewish townships in Judea and Samaria serves many purposes and positively impacts several key dimensions, ranging from purely religious to national security interests.”

    Very impressive but empty words, because you haven’t explained how the settlements contribute to national security or why there would be less national security if Israel controlled the West Bank with the settlements (as was the case up to 1977).

  35. Who are we ceding land to,we ceded Gaza and got Hamas missiles and Shalit
    STILL rotting in some stinking dungeon,Wow that was a really brilliant idea.

    Or perhaps cede land to palestinians like these murderers who butchered that family in Itamar.

    Or we could cede land to Abbas and Salam Fayad,two reptiles who speak with forked tongues.

  36. Benorr:
    The question I raised is building settlements, not ceding land. There is a difference.
    Regarding “forked tongues”, how would you describe Bibi’s Bar-Ilan speech compared to his subsequent statements and actions ?