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Gush Etzion

  • Undoing the myth of Israel's flagship settlements

    The settler movement likes to pretend its flagship settlement bloc, Gush Etzion, was built entirely on land purchased by Jews decades before Israel's founding. History says otherwise. By Dror Etkes During the years 1943-1948, four Jewish localities were established in the area located approximately six miles southwest of the heart of Bethlehem. On the eve of the 1948 War, there were several hundred residents, including children, living in these communities (Kfar Etzion – 1943, Masuot Yitzhak –1945, Ein Tzurim – 1946, Revadim – 1947). Prior to the establishment of these four localities, there had been three attempts to establish Jewish localities in…

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  • Five killed in Tel Aviv, West Bank attacks

    Violence reignites across Israel-Palestine on Thursday as four Israelis and one Palestinian are killed in two separate attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. The two attackers, both West Bank Palestinians, are apprehended. Four Israelis and one Palestinian were killed in two separate attacks on both sides of the Green Line Thursday afternoon. Several others were wounded in both incidents. In the first attack, a 36-year-old Palestinian stabbed several Israelis outside a synagogue in south Tel Aviv, killing one and injuring two, one of whom later died from his wounds. The two victims were named as Yesiev Aharon, 32,…

  • The fraud of Gush Etzion, Israel's mythological settlement bloc

    Destroyed by Arab armies during the 1948 War, Gush Etzion was repopulated after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. Since then, successive Israeli governments have done everything they can to expand the area of the mythological bloc, while settling Israelis on privately-owned Palestinian land.  By Hillel Bardin and Dror Etkes All American children learn the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!” at some point in their schooling. The story of the Alamo starts in 1836, when white colonists began settling in northern Mexico. They finally drove the Mexican army out, but the army eventually returned and slaughtered all the whites in the…

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  • Photos of the week: After kidnapping, West Bank cities under lockdown

    In the wake of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens last week, the Israeli army began an extensive campaign in the occupied territories. Thousands of soldiers have descended upon cities, towns and villages in the West Bank, including in Area A, as part of Operation Brother's Keeper. Photos:  Yotam Ronen, Ahmad Al-Bazz, Oren Ziv, Mustafa Bader / Activestills.og, text: Yael Marom Over 300 Palestinians have been arrested since the operation began, among them Hamas charity workers, Hamas-affiliated journalists and the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who is a member of the party. Hundreds of thousands of residents of Hebron…

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  • Construction of Gush Etzion separation fence delayed due to settler objections

    Six months after the Ministry of Defense announced plans to resume construction of the fence in Gush Etzion, the IDF informed settler leaders that construction will not be resumed until the route is reevaluated by government. The Gush Etzion settlement bloc just south of Bethlehem is the location of one of the biggest gaps in the wall in Israel-Palestine. Dozens of miles of the planned route of this project, launched ten years ago following the rise in suicide attacks in Israeli cities, remain unbuilt with construction at a full halt for nearly five years. The lack of construction is due…

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  • WATCH: Demonstrators block settlement junction in protest against the occupation

    On Friday, Palestinians and internationals blocked the Gush Etzion junction in the southern West Bank, the central entry point leading to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, halting traffic for 15 minutes. The action sought to highlight the restriction of movement experienced by Palestinians on a daily basis throughout the occupied Palestinian Territories. One activist was arrested. By Alon Aviram “I came to protest against settlement expansion and the occupation”, said Muhammad from Al-Masara village. He added, "this sort of demonstration can on a social level, encourage people of all backgrounds to protest against the occupation.” Gush Etzion has a population…

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  • WATCH: Settler helps Palestinians acquire building permits

    KHIRBET ZAKARIA, WEST BANK - A group of Jews from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc worked for more than half a year to get building permits for their neighbors in the Palestinian village of Khirbet Zakaria. Recently, they learned they had succeeded. Israeli authorities announced they will issue new permits for the village, the first time since the 1967 occupation began. (A village school and a few others had been retro-actively authorized, though they are the exception rather than the rule.) The effort was led by Eliraz Cohen, a poet and peace activist from the Gush Etzion, who has come…

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  • The face of violence: between racism and banal evil

    In 1998, an Israeli film appeared called "Buzz." It was based on a true story that had rocked the country four years earlier: two teenagers murdered a taxi driver, shooting him six times in the back. In the style of some great literature, there was no motive at all, just sheer thrill for boys who had already developed a pastime of petty crime. Nobody is making films these days about stunningly random, lethal violence. We've grown ritually used to it. We have a few days to nurse our horror, then we return to the struggle to close out the month…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 12: Where do we go from here?

    Ten years have passed since Israel started building the wall, probably the largest and most expensive construction project in its history, which does not seem to be going anywhere. For four months now I've been presenting its story, and now it is time to offer some breaking updates, look into the future, and conclude. The final chapter of the series. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills This was supposed to be a four part mini-project for the week of Passover. However, as work progressed, interview followed interview, and the tours along the wall's route unraveled new stories, and as the…

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  • The unmaking of Israel: Interview with Gershom Gorenberg

    “As the New Left unleashed upheaval across the industrialized world in those heady years of the late 1960’s, an Israeli variety did emerge, but instead of Weathermen and student revolutionaries, in Israel arose the settler movement.” By Ellis Weintraub JERUSALEM — With a thick grey beard and a wild bushy head of hair, pinned to which rests a yarmulke slightly askew, Gershom Gorenberg looks like he might have just descended from a West Bank hilltop, or perhaps emerged from the depths of Hebron’s militant settler community. But Gershom, an Israeli-American historian and journalist and himself an Orthodox Jew, has written…

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  • A settler's argument for the right of return

    By Eliaz Cohen | Translation: Dimi Reider The story of the return of the descendants of the members of Kfar Etzion, a Jewish kibbutz destroyed in the war of 1948, can offer a healing model to the conflict between the two nations in this one country. For over sixty years, Israel’s independence and Palestine’s Nakba have been marked simultaneously and seen as intertwined; and for over forty years, the consciousness of “liberation and return” and the consciousness of “occupation and dispossession” tussled between them for the right to describe and define the result of the Six Day War.  As someone…

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