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Palestinian and Arab propaganda has demonized Jewish settlers as illegal, fanatic, racist, violent, angry, and hell-bent on revenge. The mainstream media has followed suit and has consistently justified Palestinian terrorism against Israelis as caused by the “provocative” settlements. People consistently forget that Arabs were murdering Jewish civilians on a mass basis for fifty years before the Jewish state was born and then for an additional twenty years before Israel won the 1967 war of self-defense, long before there were “settlements.” The Arab murder of Israeli civilians continues to this day. Please see the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on “Which Came First – Terrorism or ‘Occupation’?”
The world’s mainstream media has downplayed the barbaric murder of five innocent human beings, including three children, in the Israeli town of Itamar and has focused, instead, on the fact that they lived in a “radical settlement.”
Yesterday’s New York Times piece is particularly shameful. The headline reads: “Israel to Step Up Pace of Construction in West Bank Areas.” Isabel Kershner does not use the word “terrorist.” Only in the eleventh paragraph of an eighteen paragraph piece do we learn that the “attackers” are “widely suspected of being Palestinians.” The article is mainly devoted to Israel’s decision to increase building within existing settlements in response to this pitiless act of terrorism.
I have only two things to say.
1) Once upon a time, in 1677 BCE, nearly four millennia ago, the Biblical Abraham bought a burial cave and field from the Hittites in a place that was then, and is still now, called “Hebron.” He paid top dollar for it too—lest anyone think that he stole it, just took it, or was willing to accept it as a gift. Abraham identified himself as a resident foreigner, (“ger” and “toshav”), a sojourner in the land.
We are all sojourners in God’s land. We live, we die. No one is eternal.
The Biblical Moses, a Jew, but adopted and brought up as a Prince of Egypt in Pharoah’s Palace, and the son-in-law of Midian’s High Priest, also identifies himself as a “stranger in a foreign land.” Wherever God’s intimate resides, he or she is a temporary stranger; their bodies may be mortal but their souls are divine, we both are–and are not–“from here,” we are not totally of this earth.
As God later explains in Leviticus (Vayikra), the land belongs to God; we, humanity, are only sojourning here for awhile.
Thus, I am disheartened at every conceivable level, by how people demonize the word “settler.” A settler is not a colonizer. A settler is not an occupier. A settler is a human being who settles and works the land in which he lives, or that has claimed him, or saved him—or where his ancestors once dwelled.
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