- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Jewish settlers split on freeze
TEL AVIV | Jewish settlers have escalated demonstrations in Jerusalem and the West Bank over the past week to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement freeze. But amid the confrontation, settlers acknowledge that their ranks are split.
While leaders of settlers groups have been calling for peaceful protests and lobbying, a growing number of members, especially from the younger generations, have been pressing for more drastic actions.
Palestinian homes and mosques have been attacked and defaced with pro-settlement graffiti. A fringe movement of settlers led by activist rabbis also have been appealing to Israeli soldiers and reservists to defy orders to enforce the freeze.
Mr. Netanyahu, a longtime supporter of the Israeli settlements, announced a 10-month freeze on some construction on Nov. 25 in a gesture to Washington to help restart peace talks with the Palestinians. Mr. Netanyahu subsequently clarified that it was only a one-time measure, drawing Palestinian rejection of the proposal, but the settlers saw it as a first opening to an eventual eviction.
The mainstream settler leadership - the Council of Judea, Samaria and Gaza - is still blamed for not blocking Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and is trying now to refurbish its image by showing Israel’s government that the freeze on the West Bank and Jerusalem would not be accepted quietly.
The eviction of residents from 17 settlements in Gaza known as Gush Katif (“Harvest Bloc”) in 2005 is a watershed moment in the settlers’ fight.
“The [settler] leadership after Gush Katif is not an accepted leadership,” said Yisrael Harel, a resident of the settlement of Ofra who once headed the settlers council and now is a columnist for Ha’aretz. “In some places, it is not a legitimate leadership because they collaborated in the evacuation of Gush Katif.”
Though some building inspectors enforcing the new freeze were blocked by demonstrators in keeping with a call of the settler leadership, the majority of settlements did not heed the settlers council’s call for civil disobedience.
Shaul Goldstein, a member of the settlers council, said most settlers were too “moderate” to take off from jobs to attend protests, even though Mr. Netanyahu’s freeze “means that life might stop.”
Mr. Goldstein and his colleagues are grappling with a younger generation of settlers, many of whom live in the hilltop outposts and see their parents as too bourgeois and too conciliatory toward the Israeli mainstream, Mr. Harel said.
Many in that younger generation are more skeptical of the political lobbying favored by the settlers council and are more apt to support civil disobedience, such as efforts to reoccupy settlements abandoned in 2005 and sit-ins at road junctions.
They are influenced by rabbinical authorities who place strict interpretations of Jewish religious law over Israel’s secular government.
Though the settlers council rallied 15,000 supporters in Jerusalem this past week to protest Mr. Netanyahu, activist Boaz Ha’etzni said the effort was misplaced.
“It’s not leading in the right direction. Demonstrating in Jerusalem wastes the energy of people and money on nothing,” said Mr. Ha’etzni, a frequent critic of the settlers council and a leader of a group of protesters who seek to reoccupy abandoned settlements.
“[The settlers council] isn’t built for struggle. It’s built for protest. Jerusalem is a protest. Building in the field is a struggle.”
About the Author
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow