At a special Law Committee session dealing with so-called "settler violence," Rabbis for Human Rights Executive Director Avi Dabush was honoured with having had the closing remark in the press release summarizing the session:
Givat Ronen is known as a place that harasses Palestinians.. . . We will return to Burin this next Friday [28 Jan].
Ads on social media invited the public to join them on Friday, February 4 for another chapter in their continuing tree-planting campaign. That makes three consecutive weeks of organized activism against Givat Ronen. One must ask, then: Who is harassing whom?
What has been going on?
In the January 21 incident that triggered the special committee session, two leftwing activists were injured and a car set alight allegedly by masked Jews. A resident of Givat Ronen said that Arabs from Burin and a group of Jewish activists planted trees on state land in Area C (under exclusive Israeli control) rather than within the boundaries of land surrounding Burin (Area B – under Palestinian Authority civil control). Some were less than 100 meters from their homes, putting them within the blue line, marking land belonging to Givat Ronen itself.
Every few months “leftists come out for ‘provocation days’ under the cover of planting and other similar activities,” exclaimed a resident of nearby Yitzhar. She said the army is well aware of these events ahead of time and does nothing to stop this harassment of Jewish residents. Yitzhar also suffers from terrorist infiltration but if nobody is hurt or killed, these not infrequent events are never reported in the media.
This does not excuse violence if committed by the Jews. But if people (regardless of who they are) repeatedly move threateningly toward your home, sometimes close enough to almost be able to peer into your windows, you want them held at a distance. If on your drive to and from home, you sometimes feel like you are target practice, then you want the roads patrolled by security forces.
If the authorities charged with maintaining law and order do not make sure this happens, then some people will take the law into their own hands. Given how frequently Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria are harassed as well as their exposure to violence in the form of rock- and Molotov Cocktail-throwing, it is a wonder there is not more vigilantism than what we have seen.
On 4 Feb, a force of about 500 leftwing activists and three MKs: Ahmad Tibi (Joint List), Gaby Lasky (Meretz) and Mossi Raz (Meretz) came out to the land near Givat Ronen. Apparently organized by Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), participant NGOs included Peace Now, Standing Together, Breaking the Silence, Mothers Against Violence, Combatants for Peace, Zazim and more.
It should be noted that NONE of these organizations have tax-deductible status in Israel, meaning they are likely seen as political rather than humanitarian NGOs.
In an email, RHR congratulated themselves for “standing up to Jewish terror,” claiming that “their” Judaism seeks “human rights, peace and solidarity” and is an answer to “the ill-fated evil that gnaws at Israeli society . . . based on hate and isolation.”
Yet the stated goal of all these leftist NGOs and the MKs who support them is dismantling all Jewish settlements in Area C, the region in Judea-Samaria assigned to Israel in the internationally recognized contract referred to as the Oslo Accords. They understand that any Palestinian state that may arise will not countenance Jews among them. Yet they talk about Jewish violence, Jewish hatred and Jews wanting to rid the land of the Arabs.
Did the humanitarian tree-planters venture from the fields into town? If they did, would they have noticed that Burin commemorates murderers of Jews, such as Hamdan Elnajar, who, in 1988 beheaded Yaakov Pereg and killed another soldier with Pereg’s weapon? Do they know that the Burin PLO Facebook page calls openly for continued armed resistance to the “occupation”?
Would they say that violent resistance is justified when committed by Palestinian Arabs even though they, themselves, can claim moral superiority by only engaging in tree-planting and olive harvests? Would they say that Palestinian Arab hate is justified and not an “ill-fated evil” or any kind of evil at all?
The country was horrified to learn of the violence by alleged masked Jews last month. That is always the case in the few instances of violence committed by Jews against Arabs in Judea-Samaria as well as the rest of Israel.
The daily occurence of Arab violence against Jews in Area C, however, merely arouses a yawn if it even makes it onto the news websites, mainstream or otherwise.
Therefore, one must conclude that when RHR accuses the Jews of Givat Ronen of harassing the Palestinians of Burin, he means that the simple fact of their being there is harassment enough. And his solution to this is to incite such provocation as to paint the entire Jewish population of Judea-Samaria with the brush of illegitimacy worthy only of demolition and cleansing the land of them.