Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Kidnapping, the Settlement and History

From Commentary Magazine, 27 June 2014, by Jonathan S. Tobin:


... the indifference of much of the world to the abduction [of the three Israeli teens kidnapped by Hamas terrorists] stems from the fact that the yeshiva to which trio was hitchhiking is located in the "West Bank settlement" of Kfar Etzion. ...the notion that a resident of this community is an “illegal settler” contradicts history.

... the Gush Etzion bloc of settlements south of Jerusalem on the road between Bethlehem and Hebron predates Israel’s War of Independence.

When war broke out in 1947 after the Arabs rejected the United Nations partition of the country into Jewish and Arab states, the Etzion bloc came under siege from Arab gangs and eventually the Arab Legion, the Transjordan army commanded by British officers.

Though the leaders of the Jewish state sought to reinforce the bloc, the settlements succumbed to Arab attack in the days before Israel declared independence. The battle cost the lives of 151 Jewish fighters (27 of them women), most of which, as Morris writes, were killed while surrendering or after they had surrendered. Both local Arab fighters and British-led Legionnaires carried out the massacre of the Jews.

While Palestinian Arabs have burnished the memory of the towns and villages they abandoned when their war of aggression against the Jews failed, they and their foreign cheerleaders have conveniently forgotten the fact that in some cases, it was the Jews who lost their homes. As with the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which was similarly besieged and eventually fell, the survivors of Kfar Etzion were driven from their homes. But in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel came into possession of all of the Jewish heartland, the first request of many Israelis was to see the Etzion bloc rebuilt.

... the notion that the people who live there on Jewish-owned land and in homes that were built on the ashes of those torched by the vandals who destroyed the place and killed its inhabitants in an orgy of anti-Semitic blood lust are “illegal settlers” is a hard sell even among left-leaning Israelis. 

... the majority of Palestinians has not only condoned terrorism against Israelis, but has cheered the abduction of the three boys. To them, the mere fact that they were studying in the Etzion bloc is a crime that renders violence against them an act that can be rationalized if not treated as a heroic endeavor...

If the Palestinians wish to live in peace with Israelis, they must come to terms with the permanent nature of the Jewish return to the country and give up fantasies of Israel’s elimination ...the abduction of the Etzion yeshiva students is a good occasion for them to stop ignoring or denying Jewish history.
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