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"Settler marathon" to pass through Hebron for 1st time

Many people say they oppose the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Even pro-Netanyahu hawks sometimes argue that the settlements are “a mistake,” and that the settlers put Israel’s future at risk. You often hear pro-Israeli speakers abroad say that Israel’s problem is those “fanatic settlers.”

That’s why it’s so important to understand that the settlements are a national project, initiated and funded by Israeli government agencies, and not just the work of some rightwing ultra-religious extremists, like so many would like to believe. Even Israelis who claim to oppose the settlements are in practice part of the colonization of the West Bank.

Take, for example, the Hebron 10KM Run, due to take place tomorrow (Friday). Unlike the situation in other settlements, Jews in Hebron live in the heart of a Palestinian city, guarded around the clock by hundreds of soldiers. The settlers’ presence in the heart of Hebron has been a source of continued violence, including the murder of 29 Palestinians by Dr. Baruch Goldstein at the Cave of Patriarchs in February 1994.

In previous years the run was confined to Jewish settlements in the Hebron area. But the 3rd Hebron Run will pass, for the first time, inside Hebron itself, which but for the few guarded Jewish neighborhoods, is an Arab city. This Jews-only sports event will be another symbol of the ethnic segregation in the West Bank.

The run is supported by the Israeli Ministry of Sports and the State of Israel. Another sponsor is shvung.co.il, Israel’s leading track and fitness site, which also sponsors the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem marathons.

Shvung.co.il is Israel’s largest sports community – even I have a username and my track data on it. Now Shvung.co.il is the host of the Hebron Run site.

It’s impossible to separate Israel from its settlements. The Israeli hard-right is correct: we are all settlers.

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    1. Fear not! Of course it’s possible to separate Israel from its settlements. It’s complicated. But it’s possible.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben Israel

      In fact, Israel is a small Jewish country provocativley plopped down right in the heart of the heavily Arab-populated Middle East where it has to be guarded around the clock by thousands of Israeli soldiers. It was settled by fanatical settlers assisted by British colonialism and plenty of outside funding by rich Jews. All of this was vehemently rejected by the Arabs. This Jewish presence in the Middle East has been the source of continued violence for over 100 years, and the Jewish colonization of this territory has continued unabated to this day.

      Of course, we could look at the fact that Tel Aviv-Jaffa has a small Arab minority plunked right down in the middle of a large Jewish population. Same with Haifa and other places in Israel, like Lod, Ramla, Akko, Beer Sheva, etc.

      Regarding Hevron itself, the first large-scale violence was the massacre of Jews in 1929, long before Goldstein. There was also another 6 Jews gunned down there in 1980, again, long before Goldstein.

      Reply to Comment
    3. that a minority group, however large it is, is keeping the entire israeli population captive to their provocations, whims, and also crimes. (Tag Mehir)
      It is very unfortunate, since all legitimate ways to counteract them are futile, since they are supported by Lieberma – Netanyahu – Ishai – a very unattractive combination.

      Reply to Comment
    4. John Welch

      I note that Jaffa was overwhelmingly Arab until Israeli forces drove them out in 1948. See “City of Oranges” by Adam LeBor (American edition, 2007). A superb example of “narrative non-fiction”, interweaving the stories of a dozen families from 1900 until today…many of the stories taken from an unpublished memoir by Julia Chelouche, grand-daughter of a Jewish businessman from Tunis (?) who settled in Jaffa around 1880.

      I continue to believe that Judah Magnes and Martin Buber had it right all along. See Buber’s “A Land of Two Peoples”.

      Reply to Comment
    5. walt kovacs


      In 1945, Jaffa had a population of 101,580, of whom 53,930 were Muslims, 30,820 were Jews and 16,800 were Christians. The Christians were mostly Greek Orthodox and about one sixth of them were Greek-Catholic. One of the most prominent members of the Arab Christian community was the Arab Orthodox publisher of Filastin, Issa Daoud El-Issa.

      You didnt note that there were many more jews at the turn of the century…many who fled during the arab riots of the 20s…which led to the old city of Jaffa becoming predominately arab.

      Reply to Comment