Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hebron - The City of the Dead

Today is Day 14,257 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

As a reminder, within the borders of Hebron, one of the biggest Arab cities in the West Bank, are 120,000 Palestinians. In the old city of Hebron, there are 650 Jewish Israeli squatters and 30,000 Palestinians while around Kiryat Arba the squatterment founded by Rabbi Levinger near Hebron, there are an additional 9,200 squatters.

I just came across the following powerful account by Aron Trauring in his Aron's Israel Peace Weblog who writes in 2002 of the 40 days he spend as a member of the IDF in Hebron.

He begins "This post is about Hebron. I gave 40 days of my life to the settlers of Hebron. 40 days for which I will never forgive them. Precisely now, when blood once again washes the cobblestones of those streets, now I feel compelled to write." and continues with this Introduction

Here is how the first part of his account ends "One day we were heading out to guard duty when we encountered a soldier from one of our co-units. He was white as a ghost, shaking with anger. He told us how settlers had just shouted at him, calling him a "Nazi." He ranted on and on, complaining about the humiliation of our living conditions, the constant personal danger. All these made the insult incredibly galling. "We risk our lives protecting these fucking bastards. Look how they talk to us," he said. In retrospect, though, I can only think of the irony of the settlers' curse: look who called the kettle black."

In the second part of the account he realizes "(H)ere in Hebron, I saw the true face of the settlers. The overturning of the stalls in the market. The kids kicking Arab passerbys. The unmasked racism. The contempt for us soldiers. The anti-democratic language and thinking. The tight connection between the army and the settlements. The deep disruption the settlement and the settlers caused in the day to day life of the Palestinians."

From the third part of the account apply entitled "They Should Rot in Hell" he says "My encounter with the Settlers in Hebron was an eye-opener for me,. On their home turf they shed their salesperson persona, and revealed their true, ugly face. So besotted were they with their zealous messianism, they had no qualms about exposing their contempt for Israeli secular society, for democratic institutions and norms, and for secular ideals about human rights."

Finally in the last installment of the account he recognizes the core value of the settlers. (T)he Settlers .... were in fact idol worshipers. Idol worship ... (the worship of stone and wood) ... is the sin most often and strongly condemned in the Torah ... claiming a piece of stone is more important than any other value of the Torah. The Settlers worship the stone of the Land of Israel and the wood of the Shulkan Arukh [...... the central book of Jewish practices which forms the core of modern-day Orthodox Judaism]. In pursuit of their godless and mindless worship, they put lifeless, soul-less objects above the value of living, breathing human beings.

The conclusion from the last post is worth repeating daily:
B’Tselem urges the government of Israel to dismantle the Jewish settlement in Hebron.

Deutoronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

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