Friday 18 November 2011


Oi Vey, such a flair for the dramatic! The illegal (even by Israel's terms) settlers had their buildings torn down by the IDF. This young man, seen below, is howling to his god at the injustice! Nevermind, there are always price tags to be enacted; he will find an outlet for his misplaced zeal.

Surprise, surprise. Now Chaim Har-Zahav, a reserve IDF soldier, armed to the gills, has had a small sample of what the real owners of Palestine endure day by day, year by year.

However, the intentions behind what these settlers did to the IDF vehicles highlight just how truly despicable they are. They are a pack of rabid beasts consumed by a lunatic hate. Their “god” gave them that land and they’ll kill anyone who gets in their way.

Har-Zahav describes a reality in which the greatest danger to IDF soldiers comes not from the Palestinians but from the settlers. He tells of a thirty-day stint that began with fellow soldiers at the base giving him cryptic warnings, continuing with settlers calling them to the scene, demanding they expel an “intimidating intrusion” of two Palestinian women “so old they may have fought us in 1948 who were on their way to a fruit grove that they legally own.

From there it continued, featuring multiple incidents of himself and other soldiers being pelted with large rocks, building blocks and a few times a Molotov cocktail by settlers or from settlement positions. 

The blog exposing this violence in the West Bank has apparently shocked Israelis. Personally I find that a tad difficult to swallow unless the local press is as repressive and controlling at what the Israelis learn as they are in America, both Canada and the U.S. And that is entirely possible.


By Donald Macintyre
November 18, 2011

Though fairly hair-raising, the blog Haim Har-Zahav wrote about how his Israel Defence Forces unit was attacked several times in the West Bank back in September would have gone almost unnoticed ~ except for one thing.

The attacks were not by Palestinians, they were by Israeli settlers. Mr Bar-Zahav, 33, who has two young girls and loyally does annual reserve duty, is not easy to surprise. A veteran of combat in Lebanon and in the West Bank at the peak of the intifada, he calls himself a “mainstream Israeli”. 

But today, over a cup of coffee round the corner from the TV station where he works as a successful editor and producer, he says: “All of a sudden you find yourself being attacked literally by the people you left your home to defend… that’s what shocked me. I wasn’t even slightly aware that there was such violence towards soldiers in the West Bank.”

He was on duty when the Israeli military demolished three buildings in the outpost of Migron, a Jewish settlement that is illegal under Israeli and international law. 

(ED: Aren’t they ALL illegal?!)

The demolitions sparked a series of “price-tag” (a euphemism for revenge) attacks by extremist settlers on Palestinians and their property. Mr. Har-Zahav described in his blog how settlers erected a barricade of burning tires to block a West Bank road, apparently in a “price-tag” operation.

The military always rushes to dismantle such barriers, used in the past by Palestinian militants, because if a settler’s car is stuck, “he becomes an easy target for terrorists”, Mr. Har-Zahav said.

But this time, as soon as the military patrol arrived young teenage settlers in ski masks began pelting it with large stones ~ Mr. Har-Zahav indicates a diameter of about 8in – from the terraces 10 metres above the road. “It’s physics,” he says. “If someone gets banged with one from that height, that person is either dead or seriously injured.”

We know the name of the settlement, but Mr. Har-Zahav does not want it publicized in case he is pursued through the courts by its members. But he does not hesitate to specify the attack on the Beit El military base near Ramallah, where, as he wrote in his blog, the settlers ~ on several occasions he uses the word “terrorists” ~ not only wrote “price-tag” graffiti, but cut wires under the bonnets, put sugar in the petrol tanks and cut brake cables of the vehicles “the army uses to protect them”.

He wrote: “I don’t know how it works… in the parallel universe. But in the universe I come from, the State of Israel, when someone cuts your brakes, it is an attempt to kill or assassinate.” Normally Mr. Har-Zahav’s blog gets 20,000 hits. This one got 44,000. By some on the far right he was accused of treachery; by some on the far left he was criticized for serving in the West Bank at all.

The pro-settler newspaper Makor Rishon published the blog, fuelling an already lively debate among its readers about the “price-tag” tactic. “I didn’t write the blog just to put down the settlers or smear mud in their faces,” Mr Har-Zahav says. “It’s far more important to me that the settlers discuss it than the readers of The Independent or, for that matter, Maariv or Yedhiot Ahronot. Much of the response, he says, was “apologies and shame” and he says that relations between the IDF and settlers have traditionally been good.

But he also says that while “officially” there is no difference in the constraints on the way soldiers confront Palestinians and settlers, “actually there is a huge difference. You still think two, three, four, five, six times more [before shooting at settlers] than if you encounter Palestinians”. 

He cites the recent example in which a soldier is facing trial for accidentally shooting dead a settler rabbi who failed to stop at a makeshift checkpoint and one of his own in which a Palestinian was shot dead in similar circumstances, when there was no official investigation.

Mr. Har-Zahav, who testified to the veterans’ organization Breaking the Silence after writing his blog, feels he performed a public service by highlighting a topic seldom discussed. “I told the truth,” he says.

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