Repost from the old site.
Via Joachim Martillo, we have this interesting piece, Settler Criminals Not Innocent Civilians, on the attack on the Yeshivat Merkaz haRav in Jerusalem that killed 8 young Israeli male yeshiva students. There are some errors in this piece.
Yohai Livshitz and Neria Cohen are from Jerusalem, but according to Martillo, they both live in land colonized by the Israelis in East Jerusalem after 1967. This never-ending theft of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem is an ongoing project that is rarely remarked on in the US press. Like most settler issues, it gets orders of magnitude more press in Israel than the US. In this sense, the US is much more of a “Jewish state” than Israel.
Although Martillo justifies this attack, I have a hard time doing so. The attacker definitely picked a pretty good target, but the problem is that half of the students are minors. If it can be proven that these young men were involved in violence against Palestinians in the Territories, perhaps that makes them a target, but I am not sure.
As it stands, four of the eight males killed were adults and one of those was a resident of Israel proper. That does leave Yonadav Haim Hirschfeld, Yohai Lifshitz, and Roee Roth as legitimate targets, but three out of eight is not so good.
Martillo also notes that when he visited the yeshiva, well over half of the student body was over 20 years old. This would imply that the attack could have been justified in the planning phase. You’re still attacking adults with a bunch of minors mixed in, and I’m not sure that is ok.
My position is simple. Targeting of adult settlers in the Territories is right and proper. They are living on stolen land the natives have a right to drive them off with force. I feel sorry for those that are too poor to move, but there may not be many like that. I do feel that minor settlers should not be targeted, for the simple reason that they have no choice about whether or not to occupy stolen land – that is their parents’ decision.
Theoretically, when they are 18, they can decide to move away from the Territories and back inside the Green Line. That may not be possible in many cases, but at least they have the potential option not be living on stolen land.
This would at least accord some civility to this settler-native conflict, in line with Native American practice in defending their lands. It is true that Native Americans did kill some minors, they often captured women and children and took them to live with the Indians. I am not sure whether Native Americans would have killed teenagers or not. Boys grew up awful fast on the frontier.
Sadly, the Palestinian resistance has deliberately targeted kids, even babies and infants, from Day One. One wonders how they justify as 2-year-old as a “settler”. Come on.
Unfortunately, most Palestinian groups are targeting Israeli civilians inside the Green Line. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees, the PFLP and the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades all do this.
Fatah always condemns such attacks (especially Abbas, as Arafat was not so sincere) but their armed wing, the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, continues to engage in these attacks. Truth is that the AAMB is probably a pretty autonomous organization these days.
For those who find all this queasy and still want to support the Palestinians, there is always the DFLP. This small group only targets Israelis in the Territories. I guess theoretically they target military targets inside the Green Line, but in practice they hardly do this.
This group does carry out armed attacks, usually in conjunction with other armed groups, often Hamas. The DFLP is a staunchly secular armed group that split from the PFLP in 1969 in part due to their queasiness over the PFLP’s Arab nationalism. The DFLP had the typical Leftist worries about ethnic nationalism in general as leading to fascism.
Their leader is Nayef Hawatmeh, a Jordanian Christian. Originally, they pushed Maoism, but I think they have junked that recently. There are regular calls for the merger of the PFLP and the DFLP, but these never go anywhere, mostly due to the PFLP’s reluctance. The DFLP has a presence, armed and otherwise, in Gaza.
Hawatmeh met with an Israeli leader on a stage in the 1990’s and shook the Israeli’s hand. The PFLP, ultimate hardliners, condemned this act. George Habash, asked about his opinion of this, said, “Absolute condemnation!”
On to this attack on the yeshiva. This is looking more and more like a Hezbollah hit. The group named was the Imad Mughniyeh Liberators of Galilee. It looks like this was a revenge attack for the killing of Imad Mughniyeh by Israeli in Damascus recently.
The only announcement of responsibility occurred on Hezbollah TV, and the name Imad Mughniyeh portends a Hezbollah link. Hezbollah has deep links to the Israeli Arabs of North Israel. Galilee is the part of northern Israel that has a large Israeli Arab population.
In recent years, there has been a sickening process of Judaization, in which Jewish towns are built to encircle and close off most Arab villages, towns and cities. It’s ethnic warfare by any definition, and is typical of extremely racist settlement policies practiced by states against separatist movements – i.e. Indonesia in East Timor and West Papua, China in Tibet, Morocco in Spanish Sahara and Syria in the Kurdish North.
It looks like Hezbollah used an Israeli Arab from Jerusalem who had an Israeli ID card in this attack. He was dressed up as a haredi when he carried it out. The attack was pretty bloody, but war is a nasty thing. We knew there were going to be paybacks for Mugniyeh’s killing, and that’s what this looks like. This may be the end or there may be more.
I do not buy the typical Arab line that it is ok to kill a bunch of Israeli civilians because Israel killed some Palestinian civilians, but it’s typical Arab thinking. Arabs are incapable, like most of the world’s people, of fighting by the rules of war laid down by the West.
Furthermore, guerrillas are seriously limited in their ability to fight fair in war. Guerrillas try to fight by the rules of war and they will probably just get massacred. The only way to even the fight is probably to go “asymmetrical”, as Iraq War speak described terrorism.
The rockets coming out of Gaza seem increasingly nihilistic, but I think there is a method to Hamas’ madness. I think that Hamas really wants a cease fire or truce out of this, but Israel won’t even sit down and talk to them. That Hamas even talks of a truce at all shows their maturation as an organization from a terrorist group into a more mature political entity.
Israel refuses to talk to them on the basis that Hamas agree to three conditions:
- Renounce violence
- Recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state
- Agree to all past agreements between the Palestinians and Israel
Hamas will not agree to any of these things, not now, not ever. As Israel will not renounce violence, I do not see why Hamas should either. Hamas will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and will not agree to past agreements negotiated by Fatah.
But Israel ought to talk to them anyway. The stronger parties in guerrilla wars, typically states, tend to refuse to talk with guerrillas. It’s the language of strength talking.
In addition to a cease fire, Hamas also wants some sort of a role in regulating traffic flow back and forth from Egypt to Gaza. This may not be as bad as it sounds, but when Hamas bashed down the fence a while back, they also used that opportunity to smuggle in Iranian Grad rockets that they have been firing at the Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
Israel is reluctant to do anything that will make it easier for Hamas to smuggle high-powered weaponry into Gaza. They also claim that Hamas will just use a truce, which Hamas acknowledges can be lifted at any time (the concept of hudna in Islamic law) to rearm and then to attack Israel later with much more powerful weapons.
Tit for tat, it goes on and on in the Middle East. Cycle of violence is a cliche, but there is no better word.
This yeshiva was founded by the son of Rabbi Kook, the most famous Israeli religious Zionist. Originally, Zionism was a secular movement, but Kook the elder, a Lithuanian Jew who came to Palestine in the early 1920’s, introduced the concept of religious Zionism.
At this time and until after World War 2, most Jews, and surely most Orthodox Jews, opposed Zionism as some sort of religious heresy at best and a very bad idea at worst.
The religious Zionists have become some of the most fanatical of all. Many of them feel that the Israeli state is illegitimate in the same way that Islamists feel that secular Muslim states are illegitimate. The Jewish state must be religious and the Muslim state must be also. Some of them refuse to fly the Israeli flag and others try to get out of paying taxes.
Many religious Jews are supported by the state to just study all the time. The secular Israelis regard this as a complete waste of manpower and money. There is quite a bit of bad blood between religious and secular Jews in Israel and even in the Diaspora.
Settler Criminals Not Innocent Civilians
by Joachim Martillo
In the Occupied Territories Palestinians are squeezed between the mostly off-camera aggressive anti-Arab violence of the settlers and the official theoretically defensive violence of the IDF.
Jews in Occupied Poland circa 1940 had a similar situation, for they were subject to alternating and sometimes combined SS and Wehrmacht violence.
Yeshivat Merkaz haRav is the flagship educational institution of Gush Emunim nowadays called Faithful of the Land of Israel (נאמני ארץ ישראל, neemanei eretz yisrael). It is the ideological command center for the Settler Movement
The ideology of Yeshivat Merkaz haRav is generally called religious nationalist, but it really educates its students in the occult mystical intellectual current of Zionism.
This Yeshiva is essentially a college level seminary with a large graduate (kollel) program. The students eventually develop an almost mythographic mentality
- that rewrites reality to support a nearly psychotic set of extremist fanatic beliefs and
- that puts them beyond any rational persuasion.
The students are often in combined military-Talmudic study programs. Many carry weapons and are involved in brutalizing or in abusing the native population in the Occupied Territories.
Yeshivat Merkaz haRav under US law would be considered a combined terrorist training and indoctrination center if the same laws applied to Jews that apply to everyone else.
Traditionally in Eastern Europe the best students were already immersed in deep Talmud study by bar mitzvah (13), but combined “religious nationalist” military-Talmudic study programs usually run for about 5-6 years, generally start at around age 15-16, and involve about 16 months of official military service with some physical and military training before official induction.
Here is the list of the students killed:
- Doron Meherete, 26 years old
- Yonadav Haim Hirschfeld, settler, 19 years old
- Yohai Lifshitz, settler, 18 years old
- Roee Roth, settler, 18 years old
- Yonatan Yitzhak Eldar, settler, 16 years old
- Avraham David Moses, settler, 16 years old
- Neria Cohen, settler, 15 years old, and
- Segev Peniel Avihail, settler, 15 years old.
In his completely legitimate act of resistance against the Zionist state currently breaking all just war standards in Gaza, Alaa Abu Dhein unlike the IDF carefully chose targets among willing participants, activists, and trainees in the commission of atrocities. He is to be commended for choice of target and for tohar haneshek (Hebrew: purity of arms).