Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Ich bin a “Violent Settler” (Judean Rose)

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are solely those of the author, weekly Judean Rose columnist Varda Meyers Epstein.

Joe Biden is on the prowl, looking for “violent settlers” in the “West Bank,” the latter a made-up name comprising part of a city, and two distinct territories lumped together for administrative purposes. Neither the city (Jerusalem), nor the territories (Judea and Samaria) are located on a river bank, while actual “settler violence,” is a rare bird, indeed, and is handled by Israel itself, which has no problem meting out severe punishment when it deems such actions necessary. Not that Joe cares.

For Joe, the geographic distinctions don’t matter a whit. Nor does the fact that “settler violence” is so uncommon as to be almost nonexistent, and that it’s not America’s place to punish the supposed criminals of a sovereign ally, an insult of the highest magnitude.

No, Joe doesn’t care about the facts. He cares only about doing the bidding of the Squad, the anti-Israel protesters, the State Department, the UN, his handlers, and of course, the voters. It is, after all, an election year. And if the people hate Israel, and by extension, the Jews, by gum, Joe is going after them. His excuse? “Violent settlers” or more to the point, violent Israeli settlers (cough cough Jews) threaten the United States.

This is no hyperbole, Biden’s “Executive Order on Imposing Certain Sanctions on Persons Undermining Peace, Security, and Stability in the West Bank” issued February 1, declares “settler violence” a “national emergency.” (emphasis added)

 I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, find that the situation in the West Bank — in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction — has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East region.  These actions undermine the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including the viability of a two-state solution and ensuring Israelis and Palestinians can attain equal measures of security, prosperity, and freedom.  They also undermine the security of Israel and have the potential to lead to broader regional destabilization across the Middle East, threatening United States personnel and interests.  For these reasons, these actions constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.  I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

How many of the people who read Biden’s executive order were completely unaware of the fact that the “West Bank” includes part of Jerusalem? For that matter, how many people who read Biden’s executive order are cognizant of the fact that not only is “East Jerusalem” not on a river bank, it is also not separate from the rest of Jerusalem.

From Proofread Now:

When words like northern, southern, eastern, and western precede a place name, they are not ordinarily capitalized, because they merely indicate general location within a region. However, when these words are actually part of the place name, they must be capitalized.

The city of Jerusalem is a single, unified city under Israeli sovereignty, and it is Israel’s capital. Hence there is no such thing as “East” Jerusalem. But the Arabs say there is and that it belongs to them, and so it has become another invented paradigm forced down the throat of a sovereign nation and American ally by the enemy who threatens that sovereign nation (Israel) from within and without, with American support.

Here it bears mention that the Western Wall is located in this part of Jerusalem, as is of course, the Temple Mount, the holiest of holy Jewish sites. Just as a dog marks his territory by urinating there, so too the Arabs marked this holy Jewish territory “Muslim,” by building a mosque on a site holy only to the Jewish people. The world is only too happy to fall in with the idea of dispossessing the hated Jews from their holy sites, their holy city, and the Holy Land. So too, the world is content to go along with the fiction of an “East Jerusalem” “occupied” by "European" Jews.

Despite the alarmist rhetoric employed by Biden in his executive order, there are no “high levels of extremist settler violence.” Biden, in fact, could only locate an initial four Jews to punish—that is to say, four Jews that match his personal definition of “violent settlers.” Many Israelis are now wondering if they are next on the chopping block.

What is meant by “forced displacement of people and villages and property destruction?” Does “forced displacement of people and villages” refer to Arabs who fled of their own volition in 1948 or 1967, or perhaps to the Arab squatter evicted by a Jewish landlord for nonpayment of rent? Does the building of the Western Wall plaza or the public restrooms placed there by Israeli authorities for the convenience of visitors of all faiths who come to pray at the Wall, “property destruction?” Or is that it the little corner market in the Jewish Quarter where people buy eggs and milk?

Where are these “high levels of extremist settler violence,” and for that matter, what constitutes “settler violence?” The better question is what doesn’t? For one thing, the Biden administration relies on the UN for its facts and figures in this regard, a body not known for its philosemitism. What sort of facts and figures have been disseminated by this “august” body?

From Amit Segal at Ynet:

 [When] the details on settler violence are examined thoroughly it seems like there isn’t much violence, nor much settlers. Dr. Michael Wolfowicz, a criminology researcher at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law, received the data from the UN.

At first glance, it's horrifying: between 2016 and 2022, there were no less than 5,656 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians. But delving into the numbers reveals that 1,600 of them took place in Jerusalem, with almost all of them involving Jews entering the Temple Mount or clashes between the police and Muslims who acted violently in the area.

After further filtering, there were 2,500 incidents that describe property damage or assault, but they include, for example, a terror attack in which a Palestinian terrorist attacked Jews and was neutralized. On April 8, 2018, Mahmoud Abedel Karim Marshoud attempted to stab Israeli civilians near Ma’ale Adumim. He was neutralized and succumbed to his injuries the next day. The UN reported two violent incidents following this: on April 8, a shooting at a Palestinian, and on April 9, a killing.

On July 26, 2018, Yotam Ovadia, 30, was murdered by a 17-year-old Palestinian terrorist who stabbed him. Here too, according to the UN, the fact Ovadia neutralized the terrorists was classified as settler violence. The same goes for a stabbing attack in Mount Hebron, another one in Yitzhar, and an incident where Arab rioters clashed with security forces at Joseph's Tomb.

Even a car accident in which a settler hit a Palestinian was classified as violence. After filtering all of these, we’re left with about 20 violent incidents in a month, most of them being cases of mutual violence, and some reported only by Palestinian sources without being verified.

Even if all of them are accurate, here's a relevant comparison: according to the IDF, in 2019-2022 alone, there were 25,257 incidents of Palestinian attacks against Jewish settlers . . .

. . . The exaggeration of settler violence from a limited phenomenon to a widespread issue is designed to appease the world's conscience, in a strange symmetry, for the assistance it provides Israel in its war against Hamas terrorists.

In Israel, this is intended to serve the goal of expelling Jewish settlers from the West Bank and establishing a Palestinian state.

But there’s worse. It seems that the UN has compiled a list of Jews who have visited the Temple Mount, which as noted above, is located in fictitious “East Jerusalem” within the fictitious “West Bank." The Jewish Press has the report:

Hakol Hayehudi reporter Elchanan Groner on Thursday presented a UN Excel sheet depicting Jewish visits to the Temple Mount as violent incidents.

As can clearly be seen for this batch from 2019, the Incident Description is always, “Israeli settlers and other groups, accompanied by Israeli forces, entered and toured the yards of Al Aqsa Mosque compound.” The source is always “other” or UNRWA, and the region is described as “West Bank.”

Further down, the Jewish Press elaborates on the Wolfowicz report:

According to the IDF, between 2019 and 2022, there were 25,257 instances of PA Arab assaults on Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria (without Jerusalem), with more than 20,000 incidents of stone-throwing, about 4,000 Molotov cocktails, about 400 shooting attacks, and more than 50 stabbing attacks. And the annual figure rose much higher in 2023. However, according to the UN reports on the same period, there were only 1,935 Arab-on-Jew assaults in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.

It turns out that many of these Arab-on-Jew attacks were recorded by the UN as… “settler violence” . . . 

 . . . It can be cautiously estimated that only about 35% of the reported incidents actually describe events in which there are settlers and violence, and they too have not been examined, and include questionable descriptions such as car accidents (a settler ran over a PA Arab child), or Arabs who “ran away from settlers” and fell and hurt themselves while running.

When word of the executive order came out, like many other Israelis, I wondered whether and/or how this might apply to me and to my family members. I’ve written here about my one-time trip to the Temple Mount in 2017, during a brief Arab boycott of the site. The Arabs had attacked and killed two (Bedouin) policemen and wounded a third. Israel installed metal detectors, and the Arabs decided that this was some kind of violation of their “sovereignty” over the Mount.

As a result, I seized the chance to go while there were no Arabs to curse, spit, and throw garbage at me. I took a quick tour—Jews aren’t allowed to linger or pray—and left. But when Jews visit the Mount, they are taken to a waiting area, and are required to turn in their ID booklets. There’s a wait, while security takes down your info and likely runs it through a computer to make sure you’re not a threat. Only then are you allowed up.

Did the UN access this information? Will I now be deemed by the Biden administration, a “violent settler,” my ability to visit relatives in the States, curtailed?

Can my bank accounts be frozen? I’m employed by an Israeli company. But my bank account has branches in the US.

What about mein son the (IDF) officer and my other soldier sons who served in Judea and Samaria?

From a second Jewish Press report:

According to an internal report of Israel’s foreign ministry, the Biden administration is preparing to impose sanctions on IDF officers and soldiers who serve in Judea and Samaria, Kan11 News reported Friday night. The report cites a series of claims that have been submitted to the administration against the conduct of IDF units in the area.

The report cites a US warning that if the military attorney’s office does not submit answers to the administration’s inquiries in less than 60 days, sanctions would be imposed against IDF soldiers, including commanders. In addition, the report shows that the Biden administration warned Israel many times about the lack of enforcement against “settler violence,” and Israel’s answers have been unsatisfactory.

In addition to all my other supposed sins, I live (and work) in Judea. Will my mere presence in the “West Bank” that isn’t even a river bank at some point be deemed “settler violence?” Is residing in my rented apartment considered displacement, dispossession, and destruction? 

If you ask the UN, the Red Cross, Hamas, Abbas, Qatar, et al., it most definitely is, which makes me a horrible person just for waking up in my bed, getting dressed, and washing the breakfast dishes at the sink each morning, even though no Arab ever lived here in this home or on the property on which it stands. To the Biden administration, I’m an extremist and violent criminal who should be kept from my own money and isolated from my family abroad.

But on the bright side of things, here's how much I care:

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