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Sunday, December 19, 2004

I AM A SETTLER

by Ashley Perry

I am a settler. According to most of the world I and people like me are to blame for violence in the Middle East, terrorism around the world, hatred of the West, if some media reports are to be believed also for the violence in The Sudan and so much more. I'm sure given time the tornadoes hitting many coasts around the world could also be attributed to the settlers. If I were to be viciously murdered and hacked to death along with children and old people tomorrow, it wouldn't be the person weilding the knife that would be at fault, it would undoubtedly be mine!

I am an enemy of the world. I am more of a nefarious and violent entity than Al Qaeda, the murderers of the school children in Beslan, the Madrid bombers, The Junjaweed in Sudan, Al Zaqaawi in Iraq,etc. I can tell you how I know, I have no side to the story. When a terrorist perpetrates their act the media fall over themselves to try and understand why. Was it their upbringing? The fact that they may have been a social outcast, picked on at school, the oppression they felt by events half way around the world, whatever the reason is will we will find out and paint a very human picture to these people who commit inhuman acts. I am a settler, apparently I got up one day and felt like oppressing the poor Palestinians and stealing their land and that is the whole of my story.

In media reports around the world I do not have a sex, I do not have a profession, I do not have likes or dislikes, I have no context. I am always referred to as a 'settler', sometimes I am afforded the prefix 'extremist' or 'right-wing'.

I can tell you that I am new at this 'settling' business. A few months ago I wasn't a settler and if I was killed it would be partially condemned by oh, let's see.....at least four or five governments. Today I wouldn't receive even that. I have moved only a few miles geographically yet a whole world in terms of legitamacy. I dared to move across the hallowed 'Green-line'. I am sure the whole world knows what the green-line is and how it got its name. I am sure they know that it was created by two generals on opposing sides in war sitting in a tent in the middle of nowhere attempting to muddle out a cease fire. I am sure too that the world knows that the only marker they had to delineate the lines of cease-fire was a thick green marker pen which when making the line on the map was sometimes miles thick.

That is it, a cease-fire line. Not the borders of a state not the ending of a peace plan but a line showing where two armies had finished their fighting and decided on a truce. When people talk of 1967 borders, they are being factually incorrect. One can only border a soveriegn state.

Which brings me to my next important fact which I am sure the world knows. There has never been a sovereign Palestine, ever in the history of man. Never a Palestinian King, President, ruler. Never a distinct Palestinian language and culture or money.

So where is it I have moved to I hear you ask. I can tell you that the last Internationally recognised agreement pertaining to this land was called 'The Balfour Declaration' which was adopted by The League of Nations in the early part of the twentieth century which called for a Jewish Home including where I now live....and nothing since. So at best surely where I live could be called 'disputed'. I recognise that there is a dispute, there are two people wanting to claim this land where I live. I do not occupy it any more than an arab who lives down the road from me does.

Speaking of Arabs, the world knows where I stand on them. Surely, I want them gone from here or dead perhaps and I pray continually for their destruction. Well I have some news for the world, I don't hate the Arabs or anyone particularly. I hate traffic, cold mornings and finding the colour of my clothes have run in the washing machine, but I don't hate people. I have never hurt anyone in my life, nor do I intend to. I am not a pacifist, nor am I violent, I'm just like most people on this planet ... a regular person. A regular person doesn't hate any particular people.

I have been told by many more veteran settlers that they remember before the Intifada when they used to go to the shops and Souks of the local Arab towns and cities. They used to invite Arabs to their homes and celebrations and were invited back. Yes, these were the evil settlers pouring tea to their Arab guests of their home and enquiring about the health of their relatives. These were the abhorrent Arab-hating settlers who would moan about the weather with the Arab shopkeepers as they did their weekly grocery shopping. What may surprise many is that most settlers long for these times again and dream of living side by side with Arabs or anyone in peace and harmony. Damn they are truly evil!

As a settler I am not allowed in many countries. I am sure you all knew the declaration of The Non-Aligned countries in the UN(a very large percentage of the world) that I am barred ffrom their countries. While the world fights for civil rights for murderers and terrorists, mine are just shunted aside. But hey, it doesn't matter. As a Jew I am not allowed in many countries in the world and am forbidden from owning land in many, many more.

So yes I am a settler! I make no apology for it. I never hurt anyone, I never stole anyone's land. In fact the land I am living on wasn't lived on before I got here, I repeat no Palestinians were displaced to make room for me. I wanted to write this piece not to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I haven't even given my reasons for living here. I just wanted to give myself and those around me context. I wanted to let you know that the BBC, CNN, etc don't know me or want to get to know me, they would rather shed a tear and try to 'understand' terrorism. I don't even seek anyone to understand me, I just want people to understand that there are two sides and to learn about both. To make a decision about something while only knowing one side is intellectually unsatisfying and not to at least listen to both sides is dishonest. So please send this on to as many people as possible, so more people can at least get the other side.


Ashley Perry came from London to make aliyah four years ago. He recently moved from Jerusalem to Efrat. Ashley lectures on Middle East politics and Jewish History and is involved with Hasbara in many different formats. Ashley was one of the founding group of Honestreporting.com. Contact him at ashperez@hotmail.com