Settler provocateurs (and the media)

I am absolutely disgusted by the lead on this new AP story:

    NEVE DEKALIM, Gaza Strip – Israeli troops dragged sobbing Jewish settlers out of homes, synagogues and even a nursery school Wednesday and hauled them onto buses in a massive evacuation, fulfilling Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s promise to withdraw from the Gaza Strip after a 38-year occupation.
    In the West Bank, an Israeli settler grabbed a gun from a security guard in the Shilo settlement and started shooting Palestinians, killing three and wounding two before being arrested. The killings aroused fears of Palestinian retaliation and the disruption of the evacuation mission.

I understand that everyone’s emotions are running high. But why should the fact of “sobbing Jewish settlers” being evacuated from places where their presence is now illegal under both international and Israeli law be considered to take precedence over the violent ending of the lives of three Palestinians?
I am glad that Sharon quickly and quite rightly denounced the killings as “Jewish terror”. But still, doesn’t the violent ending of these theree people’s lives merit greater media attention than the drama-queen tactics of the long-pandered-to settlers?
It seems evident that some extreme militants in the settler movement are determined to try to provoke a Palestinian reaction and thus spark a very nasty inter-communal, Jewish-Arab conflict in different places. This, from the same story:

    In Kfar Darom [in occupied Gaza], several hundred settlers went on a rampage, pushing large cinderblocks off a bridge and trying to torch a nearby Arab house, witnesses said. Israel troops brought the fire under control and tried to push the settlers back into Kfar Darom as Palestinians threw stones.

Let us hope that as many Israelis as possible are sensible enough to turn against these apostles of hate. Also, that as many Palestinians as possible understand that for them, too, staying calm and refusing to get provoked into counter-violence of any kind is also very, very important.
The great Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has argued that sometimes, just staying calm can save lives. I think that now, throughout the whole of Israel/Palestine, is such a time.
As for Amy Teibel of AP, who wrote that piece, and her editors, perhaps they can reflect a little on whether they actually think that the fates of all human beings are equally deserving of our attention and their coverage…. A bunch of sobbing settler women “trumps” the killing of three Palestinians (and the wounding of two others)?
I don’t think so.

19 thoughts on “Settler provocateurs (and the media)”

  1. Cobban, more Palestinian than the Palestinians, as usual. Even Hamas announced that this killing was not the main event of the day, as the article goes on to say:
    Hamas said it wouldn’t immediately retaliate to enable the Gaza pullout to proceed.
    “Hamas, as well as all Palestinians, are interested in seeing the Zionist settlers leave our land as soon as possible,” said spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. “But if these crimes continue, factions will not stand by silently.”

  2. Helen,
    Your disgust over the media’s reporting of the Gaza withdrawal is certainly justified. There is a lengthy piece by Jennifer Loewenstein on the Counter Punch site.
    She is enraged that similar numbers of journalists who are covering the “staged” grief of the displaced settlers have not done equally in-depth stories on the many horrors suffered by the Palestinians at the hands of the occupying Israeli army.
    Love your blog !

  3. Dear Mr./Ms. “Reader”–
    The evidence you adduce, Hamas said it wouldn’t immediately retaliate to enable the Gaza pullout to proceed… does not prove the conclusion you wish to draw: Hamas announced that this killing was not the main event of the day.
    It strikes me your readiness to be courteous and helpful here might be as limited as your command of logic?
    However, your underlining of that Hamas quote does indirectly add weight to something I wrote here a couple of days ago, namely that:
    “Hamas seems to be positioning itself for broad political influence in Gaza after the IDF withdrawal… getting into a firefight with the IDF could well be judged as likely to undermine that goal.”
    Add to that, that Hamas is showing itself as unwilling to see its supporters getting drawn into an inter-communal melee with the settler extremists.

  4. Dear Helen;
    Excellent post. But should we be surprised? I mean, when have the media held this kind of pity party when Palestinian homes have been demolished? Too, we’ve also seen how the death of a few Israelis from a terrorist suicide bombing is covered lavishly, from on-the-scene reactions to funerals, but next-to-nothing of the grief when Palestinian civilians get killed by the Israeli military.
    This is all too sad and typical.
    “Nowadays, you have to think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.”
    — Barley Blair

  5. Hamas and the loonie diehard Gaza settlers are mirrors of each other. Both have maximalist positions rooted in Divine Revelation. Neither would hesitate to spill blood (Arab or Jewish) to advance their narrow agendas and spoil any hope for compromise.

  6. Dear Helen;
    Excellent post. But should we be surprised? I mean, when have the media held this kind of pity party when Palestinian homes have been demolished? Too, we’ve also seen how the death of a few Israelis from a terrorist suicide bombing is covered lavishly, from on-the-scene reactions to funerals, but next-to-nothing of the grief when Palestinian civilians get killed by the Israeli military.
    This is all too sad and typical.
    “Nowadays, you have to think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.”
    — Barley Blair

  7. Peele, your method is too familiar to work any more. You want to use the settlers as a means to damn Hamas (as a “mirror”). You fail. There is nothing to compare between the two.
    You want to criticise Hamas, fine, do so according to facts about Hamas, not on the rebound from and with facts about a completely different group of people.

  8. “death of a few Israelis from a terrorist suicide bombing is covered lavishly…”
    More than 300 civilian deaths (Israeli Jews and Arabs) from over 100 suicide bombings targeting mainly buses and cafes is merely “a few”? How many suicide bombing fatalities would constitute a significant amount?

  9. Nonsense. Take a step back and see the media reaction when an Israeli went on a rampage in a bus a couple of weeks ago:
    – The coverage in the Israeli press dominated everything else, including the imminent separation.
    – The attacker was labeled “terrorist”, something that the Arab and half of the western press don’t do with the daily Arab terrorism (they call them shaheens, or jihadis, or insurgents, or alleged whatever).
    – The families of the victims attended a special session of the Knesset as guests where countless speeches from all factions condemned the attack
    – The government issued a special decree granting the families full indemnification, even though the scope of that law is victims of enemy attacks, not deranged soldiers
    – The soldier was refused burial at any military cementery
    – The soldier was restrained by police and then lynched by the Arab mob. A plastic bag was put on his head to suffocate him and beaten to death while handcuffed to the seat. It took an hour to reclaim the body from the mob, the TV aired a private filming of the events. No legal action was taken against the lynchers.
    A day later later a Palestinian shooting attack on a car left a 10 year old in critical condition anf his father injured. The perps drove back into a welcoming Ramallah and have not been found.
    How is that for freaking symmetry Helena? Anybody objecting to the ordering of coverage is extremely sensitive or is being paid by Iran or who knows who to spread poisonous propaganda.
    Go take on your mother Britain Helena now that we know that the poor Brazilian was not jumping the gates, did not wear a jacket, did not run away from the police and was just executed because you Britons are so inept you can’t tell the difference between a Brazilian and an Arab terrorist. And yes, we have subways, we have Brazilians, and we have Arab terrorism in the US as well.

  10. I just don’t see how Helena, in good conscience, could even countenance the idea of living on stolen land the way she does.
    I mean, sure, the Native Americans (on whose land she currently resides) did not have the benefit of the Geneva Convention – sucks to be them, after all.
    But outside that “legal regime” hatched in Switzerland, white colonists from her country still came and stole their land – and have no plans to give it back.
    How a white, colonial settler like Helena complains about stolen land all the time – it’s rather astounding.
    They have this thing called a mirror. Time to look in it.

  11. And if the response is that “Native Americans have the right to vote in the U.S.,” ask them if they’d give that up so that White people would move back to where they came from and give them back their land.
    As it is, they mostly live on Reservations – or, in Helena-speak: Bantustans. Not exactly an ideal situation.
    To quote Helena from several posts ago: “To which, all I can say is: “Human equality now!””
    Well, Helena, why not start with yourself and move back to Europe so that the Native American tribes can have their land back?
    A Eurpoean, White, colonial settler who hates and criticizes other settlers, but has nothing to say about her own status as a European, White, colonial settler.
    Just shocking. Actually, it’s not. It’s rather typical.
    People love to criticize but rarely do they ever walk the walk when it comes to themselves.
    Oh well.

  12. Last updated August 15, 2005
    Israelis: 123
    TOTALS FOR 2005:
    Israelis: 6
    Palestinians: 686
    SoCal is right, we should give the land back to the natives, or at least pay rent. I’m all in favor of letting them decide…. let them run the country. Maybe they will do a better job. I suspect they will not be supporting proxy wars around the globe, anyway.
    TOTALS FOR 2005:
    Palestinians: 40

  13. SoCal– Of course I’m concerned about the status and historical claims of the Native Americans. I assume you are, too?
    The Quakers have worked hard for 340 years on this issue, and even today we continue to do so.
    However, do stop for a moment to compare the situation of Native Americans who enjoy full civil, political, economic, and social rights within our governance system with that of the Palestinian residents of the territories that have been under Israeli military rule for 38 years now. To this day their most basic rights are not assured. They have no vote for a soveriegn government. The Gazans in particular are actually stateless. They have no protection against assaults by the Israeli military on their lives or property. Indeed some 7,000 are in a system of detention without trial; Palestinian real estate continues to be expripriated for the exclusive benefit of Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank– and, what’s more, all of this system is supported by my tax dollars.
    I assume you’re as upset with this situation as I am?

  14. David,
    Don’t you realize that the two Jewish “militants” are not terrorists? Don’t you know that Eran Natan Zadeh is a martyr, and that we are all busy now passing out sweets to our children in honor of his martyrdom? Don’t you know that we are already printing up cards with his likeness for the children to collect, and that we are in the process of naming streets after Natan Zadeh and entering him into this coming school year’s curriculum? Don’t you understand that “what’s-his-name” who carried out the militant, heroic martyr action the other day in Shiloh will most certainly “escape” the next time no one is looking?

  15. SoCalJustice,
    I think that it’s pretty certain that Helena wasn’t one of the “hungry, tired, huddled masses yearning to be free,” and that she probably came to the US for the climate. It’s also very convenient for her to talk about how much she favors helping out the native Americans, when there virtually are none left. I’m also pretty certain that she doesn’t mind her tax dollars going to the UN to pay for Palestinian propaganda or to help build Muhammed Dahlan’s villa in Gaza.

  16. The difference between the UNRWA and UNHCR definitions of “refugee” are often more theoretical than practical. The Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees defines “refugee” as follows (emphasis mine):

    As a result of events occurring before I January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

    The 1967 protocol later eliminated the time constraints, but this is otherwise the definition that continues to be applied by the UNHCR.
    The 1951 convention does not provide for refugees to bequeath their status to their children. Given that refugee status is defined by the country of the refugee’s nationality, however, such children can become refugees in their own right. For instance, if a child born of Tibetan parents and having Chinese nationality is unable to return to China due to a well founded fear of persecution, that child can qualify for refugee status even if he was born outside China. In addition, UNHCR-run camps typically don’t break up families. So there are long-term, third and fourth generation refugees who are not Palestinian, such as the aforesaid Tibetans.
    The protocol breaks down somewhat for those who have been stripped of their nationality. According to the 1951 convention, stateless persons can qualify as refugees if they are unable to return to their country of “former habitual residence.” This can cause problems for the children of stateless refugees, who obviously don’t have the same country of “habitual residence” as their parents. To take an actual example, hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis fled their country in 1959, settled in refugee camps in Uganda and Tanzania, and were subsequently stripped of their citizenship. They personally qualified as refugees under the UNHCR definition because they were stateless persons who could not return to their country of “former habitual residence” – i.e., Rwanda. Their children, however, could not claim that Rwanda was their country of residence, and I believe this actually did cause problems with their refugee status. Likewise with the long-term ethnic Nepali refugees who were stripped of their Bhutanese nationality and exiled during the 1980s.
    To some extent, the UNRWA definition may have been continued in order to solve exactly this problem. The majority of Palestinian refugees are stateless, and most of their host countries aren’t willing to grant citizenship to them or their descendants, so using the UNHCR definition would complicate the status of children born outside the Mandate. In a way, the UNRWA rules grant Palestinians equal status with non-stateless refugees under the UNHCR system. It also operates as a disincentive for host countries to grant citizenship, but I doubt many of them would have done so even under different rules.
    A less defensible aspect of the UNRWA rules is that Palestinians can continue to be refugees even if they take up third-country citizenship and even if they remain within the territory of the Mandate. Strictly speaking, there shouldn’t be any refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank, nor should there be any in Jordan. The fact that there are such camps is no doubt due in part to financial incentives (if the camps close, the UNRWA money stops flowing) but it’s also an exercise in political exploitation.

  17. Jonathan Edelstein:‎
    Strictly speaking, there shouldn’t be any refugee camps in Gaza and the West ‎Bank, nor should there be any in Jordan.
    I think you

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