Sunday, April 16, 2006


Zionists vs. Zionists in Salem

Apart from trying unsuccessfully to get into occupied homes, we also attended a demonstration in the village of Salem near Nablus. The hills of the Nablus region are covered with tiny extremist settler populations. Salem has been facing constant harassment from settlers. The settlers have cut large numbers of the villages olive trees and 68 year old man being beaten and taken to hospital 3 days prior. Rabbi's for Human Rights decided to organise a demonstration in Salem to allow for the Palestinians to be able to work their land.

The rally had a very different dynamic to those occurring in the South. There were only 10 Palestinians there, the rest were Israelis and whilst I recognised some of the Israeli anarchists the bulk of the 40 Israelis present at the demonstration were part of the kibbutzim movement (little Jewish in theory "collective" farms). The demonstration walked to the lands that the Palestinians wanted to farm (olive groves and grazing lands for sheep). When we arrived the Palestinians and some of the Israelis began to work.

However the whole rally quickly gravitated around two settlers who blocked the Palestinian tractors. The settlers and the kibitz people started to argue with each other in Hebrew. One of my anarchist friends told me that the discussion was really bad and that we should just continue plowing the field. I asked him what he meant by that and he said the entire argument was basically a chest beating session as to who was more patriotic and Zionist. Whilst the settlers went on with their usual rhetoric about how all this land was theirs, the kibbutzim people argued along the lines that by expanding into the west bank the settlers were undermining the Zionist project. They talked about the taking over of the majority of Palestinian land like it was a good thing. They even put forward the racist myth that "they made the desert bloom." This line about making the desert bloom is basically a myth that apart from Jewish Zionist colonisation, the Palestinians were all backward and essentially ate sand.

They try to block out the history of the majority of Palestinian villagers that weren't just taken over in 1948 but were actually destroyed and entirely replaced by Jewish towns. The Palestinians have very deep roots with their land and places like Jayyous both what we could access and the vast lands over the horizon make it clear that such talk is entirely nonsense.

Anyway the argument got louder and louder, eventually 6 army vehicles drove up to protect the settlers. The army denied the Palestinians the ability to work on much of their lands and supported the settlers who ended up driving their ute around the sheep, that were slightly further back, in order to scare them. Apparently the sheep were provoking or something. I joked with a friend that they were Palestinian sheep so they probably thought there was a bomb in them or something.

The rally surrounded the ute and I managed to stuff flowers and grass in one of the petrol canisters of the settlers. The army finally instructed the settlers to go further back but forbid the Palestinians to move forward onto their land. We stayed for a few hours but had to go back to Nablus to deal with some home occupations.

The settlers around Nablus are extremists who constantly harass Palestinians and who would be fairly described as crazy by most Israelis. A few weeks ago there was a suicide bombing which killed 3 settlers in the Nablus hills. Normally I do not condone suicide bombings as they kill innocent people and set back the Palestinian cause. Apart from my sympathy towards the poor man who felt the need to kill himself I have no sympathy for these people. The settlements around Nablus are military instillation for an armed guerilla army that unlike the proper Israeli army have no rules or regulations at all.

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