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Settlers assault Israeli human rights workers near West Bank outpost

Yesh Din personnel, who were in the West Bank doing the job that police simply aren’t doing, were attacked last week by settlers near Havat Gilad. And these are the people the defense minister wants to sign a deal with?

By Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz)

A car belonging to one of the Yesh Din personnel after it was attacked by settlers at Havat Gilad (photo: Yesh Din)

Three Israelis – and yes, there is the necessary proof that they were Israelis – attacked a Yesh Din team near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad on Tuesday, June 25. The assault came a day before the High Court of Justice was to hold a hearing about the evacuation of several illegal structures there. All this took place in the wake of a suggestion of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to legalize Havat Gilad in return for removing those structures.

Ironically, the attack was not divorced from the legal procedures: the Yesh Din team was there to document the illegal construction in Havat Gilad. After viewing the place and driving away, the team found its way blocked by three Israelis who arrived on the scene on two motorcycles. The Israelis, one of whom was armed, violently attacked the team’s vehicle, broke its windshield and stole its keys. Despite the attack, our team made it back safely to the village of Far’atha, and lodged an official complaint with the police.

So as not to give the police an excuse to destroy this investigation as well, we shall not provide more details about the incident. But some things must be said clearly, even though they have been said so often that they seem banal: the government of Israel is responsible for this violence.

The settlers of the Havat Gilad outpost have lived on a declared illegal outpost for over a decade. The outpost was mostly built on lands declared to be private by the Civil Administration, cultivated Palestinian lands. Most of the structures on it have been issued demolition orders that are rarely enforced.

This is the first stage: turning a blind eye and quietly cooperating – the various arms of the Israeli government provide the outposts with services – with the theft of Palestinian lands. Next comes the second stage: using quiet and daily terror against Palestinians who insist on holding to their land. Often, when the government stages a show of evacuating an outpost, comes the third stage, that of violence against soldiers and cops. If you lie down with dogs, don’t be surprised when you wake up with fleas.

And finally the fourth stage: violence against Israeli civilians who do the job the government and the police prefer to abandon. Again, since Havat Gilad is an illegal outpost, it is the duty of the government to evacuate it and monitor the illegal construction in it. As it shirks this duty, we fulfill it instead.

The ever-present thread in the history of the settlements is outlawry and violence. The ever-present thread of the behavior of the government is turning a blind eye. This is rather easy when it comes to Palestinians; as far as some of the current government ministers are concerned, after all, the Palestinians are a piece of shrapnel in the behind, and over the years, the government has even learned to accept attacks on Israelis. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once said that “for Eretz Israel, it is permitted to lie.” Now we learn it is also permitted to attack the elderly for it. And not just Palestinians.

These are the people Defense Minister Ya’alon wants to have a repugnant deal with, according to which the structures built in Area A will be removed, and the government will pronounce kosher the rest of the treif in return. When he does so, he will quietly affirm the violence which has followed the outposts since their creation – the violence without which they would not exist.

And so it goes.

Written by Yossi Gurvitz in his capacity as a blogger for Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights. A version of this post was first published on Yesh Din’s blog.

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    1. aristeides

      Jews are attacked in the West Bank. What is the response of the government?

      Entirely different depending on who attacked them.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ashamed to be Jewish

        You point is as disgusting as the behavior of the settlers that terrorize these people …

        Put yourselves in their shoes just for 1 second …

        Is empathy even a part of your DNA anymore ???

        Reply to Comment
      • Christian

        Christians are attacked by Jews regularly in Israel; what is Israel’s response? Nothing.

        Reply to Comment
    2. An internal Israeli crime in Israeli law. Failure to prosecute or investigate because of the victim’s structural position (as rights activists) is a failure of equal protection.

      And, yes, the State has enabled this settler behavior for years. This criminal act attaches to the State absent prosecution.

      I don’t know the word “treif.”

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        These are not “human rights” activists, but rather “pro-Palestinian activists”, a bit of a difference.

        People who does not know what “treif” means have no right to have an opinion in regard of any aspect of Jewish life.

        By the way, are you banned on Google?

        Reply to Comment
    3. Gearoid

      I see the usual Occupation lovers are nowhere near this one?

      I wonder why.

      Radical settlers think they are above the law. Perhaps the state should remind them. If the state has the courage to follow the law that is.

      Reply to Comment
    4. rsgengland

      Yesh Din and their co-travelers are very active against Jews over the 1948/49 ceasefire lines, and they are very active against Jews in the Negev, and very active against Jews in South Tel Aviv.
      Are any of these groups pro Jewish in any way.
      Also where is most their funding from; mostly anti-Israel NGOs’ and organizations no doubt.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gearoid

        Which part of that, mostly counterfactual, rant justifies assaulting them?

        Reply to Comment
    5. Vadim

      “These are the people Defense Minister Ya’alon wants to have a repugnant deal with”

      Let me see if I got this right.
      It’s WRONG to have a deal with the kind of people that throw stones, paint graffiti and damage cars. But it’s OK to have a deal with people who explode in buses, who fire missiles into populated areas, who butcher entire families, who glorify death as long as Jews get killed?

      This has always amazed me. The Israeli left grants infinite forgiveness and love to our enemies and demands we all do the same. However, none of this love and forgiveness is applied to political rivals or people with different opinions…

      Reply to Comment

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