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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

This may sound cynical, but...

Obviously I am upset about yesterday's terror attack.  But I'm having trouble putting my finger on what is troubling me most.

There's the senseless loss of life.  Four innocent people's lives were snuffed out as casually as you or I might swat a few flies.  If not for the happy accident that I left a bit early from work yesterday to be able to bring Yonah his new school knapsack (he starts 1st grade today) before he went to bed, I could easily have been arriving at the site of the attack just as the bullets began to fly.

Then there's the lack of outrage from abroad.  I know it's silly.  I really shouldn't care what the rest of the world has to say.  But talking heads and government spokespeople who ran out of synonyms for 'massacre' when protesting Israel's handling of the well planned flotilla ambush, have suddenly fallen silent... or worse, are offering faint protest of the "we condemn all acts of violence and aggression'"sort that slyly draws moral equivalency between deliberate terror against civilians and Israel's often feckless attempts to defend herself.

But strange as it may sound, what seems to be troubling me most right now is that the Palis seem to have figured out that if they simply confine their terror activities to 'settlers', they can neatly divide the Israeli public's sympathies along political lines, and give the far left and the rest of the world the term 'occupation' with which to qualify their luke-warm condemnations.

As if to prove my point, The New York Times helpfully explains to its readers today that the victims of yesterday's attack were not people... not mothers, fathers... husbands or wives.  They were settlers.... attacked near their settlement in the 'west bank'.   

By comparison, those who carried out the attack were described in a somewhat more established form as belonging to 'an Islamic group' (not, G-d forbid, a terror organization).  The article then takes a hard turn (bordering on non sequitur) to point out the real villains for anyone who might still be on the fence:

"Even before the attack, settlements were looming as a potential deal-breaker in the peace process. Mr. Netanyahu has steadfastly refused to commit to extending a partial moratorium on construction in the West Bank, which expires Sept. 26, while Mr. Abbas has said it will be very hard to keep talking if construction resumes."

If we're really such monsters (or insignificant insects) that the world can do no better than to passively blame us for bringing about our own demise, perhaps we have nothing to lose (and plenty to gain) by simply ignoring them and doing only what's best for us (for a change).

Posted by David Bogner on September 1, 2010 | Permalink

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Freeze is over and never should have been agreed to in the first place. Building starts at 6pm on a private home in Beit Haggai (the town where the victims were from), a sports center in Adam, and a kindergarten. Wish I could come to help break the ground and nail a few boards. My vote is for 1000 new homes for every Israeli murdered. Nu, remember five years ago when I first arrived all peaceniky and thought you were one of those 'crazy right-wing settler nutcases?' --ok well I never thought you were a nutcase, at least not very often ;) -- lol, I think I've edged passed you on the right there buddy.

Posted by: Yaeli | Sep 1, 2010 1:24:48 PM

An additional quote from the above NYT article: "The victims came from Beit Hagai, a small settlement in the hills south of Hebron, an area known for particularly militant settlers."
The hateful implication sounds quite clear to me.

Posted by: weis | Sep 1, 2010 1:31:19 PM

I don't agree with the politics of most 'settlers' and would not chose to live 'over the Green line' but I bristle when they are constantly called 'illegal settlements' and are blamed for their own murders.
As far as the international media, and most international goverments, are concerned any Jewish life, especially an Israeli one, is worth a little less, justifies a little less self-defense. We are only allowed to survive if it requires no one else, terrorist, 'militant' or innocent civilian, being injured.
Our lives are lower on the scale than a penniless African dying from Malaria because although our death would receive more media coverage it is only so that the aforesaid media can rejoice in it.

because if the area is 'judenrein' when Israeli forces leave, it will be a few days later.

Posted by: Esther | Sep 1, 2010 1:53:20 PM

This exactly the line in the German news (delievered somewhere in the mixed part of the news broadcast): 4 settlers (!) have been killed in an attack by an armed wing of the Hamas organisation. I knew it beforehand, I've been not surprised, but I still feel very angry, mostly because I feel helpless against such ruthless, unabashed appliance of double standards. Not so long ago I denied that this is antisemitism. But I have no other explanation of it. I really don't know.

Posted by: Kurt | Sep 1, 2010 1:59:30 PM

Sorry the end got cropped:

I wished to add that although, to a limited extent, I belive in Land for Peace I can understand the pain of people not wanting to leave their homes where they have given so much.
But they will have to leave because of the simple fact, and an elephant in the room not acknowledged by these fabulous international mediators, that if the area isn't 'Judenrein' when Israeli forces leave it will be a few days later.
Yet somehow Israel is the 'Apartheid State'.

Posted by: Esther | Sep 1, 2010 2:07:03 PM

A bit more cynicism then....

What if, per chance, the victims had been residents of Be'er Sheva returning from a day trip to Jerusalem?! How convenient for the media, the left, and the rest of the world that the victims actually lived in Beit Chaggai, because otherwise the victims would have had to have been blamed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet... somehow, I doubt the perpetrators interviewed their victims to determine their residential status before hand....

Posted by: zahava | Sep 1, 2010 3:32:58 PM

I just tried to put all this into words myself, and failed.

One has to wonder - if the victims were a group from the "proper side" of Jerusalem, traveling back after being in Beer Sheva for a meeting or some such, how would they have been described by the media? Or a group traveling from Beer Sheva - where there is no dispute to muddy up the picture - to anywhere?

Boggles the mind. Meanwhile, 6 children have lost their parents, a man his wife (when I was an EMT, I had nightmares about arriving on a scene and having it be someone I loved. Just. can't. imagine.), and a bride her husband, yet the rest of the world shrugs their shoulders and moves on.

Posted by: Alissa | Sep 1, 2010 3:39:49 PM

You've hit the nail on the head Trep. Every single foreign news site I've read has mentioned that it was "settlers" who were killed, as if that excuses the act. And as has been pointed out by Zahava and Alissa above, it was automatically assumed that they were "settlers" just because of the location where they were killed. Probably a great many of us have travelled on route 60 at some point or other, and we are not all residents of Judea and Samaria. What if it had been us? Would the death of a non-settler have caused more outrage abroad? Nah, probably not. We're just Israelis, and anyway, it would be claimed that if we hadn't been there, nothing would have happened.

It's enough to make you sick.

Posted by: annie | Sep 1, 2010 3:59:10 PM

I find it infuriating that even as the actors' boycott draws protests among its opponents against discriminating against Israeli citizens on the basis of where they live, these acts of cold-blooded murder seem to be having the opposite effect.

Posted by: Rahel | Sep 1, 2010 4:18:33 PM

there was one pragnant woman.and this accident is not first in this region.for some reason our primer minister left israel today and he is on his way to usa, to discuss possibilities of peace one more time with obama ( why obama? why other countries are involved into this?). and while they discuss this vital problem we have to start thinking about where to get gas masks...

Posted by: mosh@israel | Sep 1, 2010 5:32:34 PM

It`s very hard to be rational after this outrage.But every effort has to be made to find the individuals and GROUP behind the murders,and then strike them no matter where they`re located.

Posted by: Ed | Sep 1, 2010 5:51:39 PM

Haaretz(!) did not refer to the victims as "settlers", at least not in the headlines

Posted by: zalman | Sep 2, 2010 12:22:08 AM

Screw the world. If in their eyes Jewish blood is cheap then we should extract a higher price for it.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 2, 2010 2:56:18 AM

i tend to fall on the palestinian side of the conflict, but such utter savagery should be indefensible for any human, IMO. it surprises me that the death toll is universally counted as four -- what about the child the pregnant woman was carrying?

Posted by: c | Sep 2, 2010 4:32:25 AM

It's actually even worse than the piece you quoted. This was the NYTimes's lede on the article about the attack:

"The killing of four Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, in the West Bank on Tuesday evening rattled Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the eve of peace talks in Washington and underscored the disruptive role that the issue of Jewish settlements could play in the already fragile negotiations."

Basically, these killings don't underscore the Palestinians' unending propensity for...killing, but instead how awful those settlements are. Shame.

Posted by: Raeefa | Sep 2, 2010 10:35:18 AM

Since I am neither Jew nor Israeli I cannot speak from that point of view. The political Left controls most of the media and the educational systems in the West. So we see all too much of what happens through their Red lenses. Some of us have never believed the skewed tripe which passes for "news", but until recent years have had little alternative. Now we do, and more Westerners, at least in the US, are finally learning the facts.

The NY Times is merely using the same old Leftist tactics, dividing by deriding. Being Jews wasn't bad enough, no these Jews were 'settlers' and thus deserving of slaughter. How very much in-step with the National Socialists, eh? Explains why their circulation continues to fall. Americans have decided they don't believe the Times. Israelis should take notice of that. Americans are not represented by the Gray Lady.

I am angered and dismayed at the recent, murderous attack. Then, to listen to Ehud Barak talk about handing over a portion of Jerusalem to the Muslims ... didn't Israel dodge a bullet the FIRST time Barak was in power? Why is he still in a government position? Offering yet another pay-off for the murder of his fellow Israelis? Has he learned nothing?

I think I'd agree with Elder of Ziyon ... build a new settlement each time an attack is made. Make the reality on the ground surpass the hateful rhetoric from the Pseudostinians. As he says, "Peace will never occur unless the Arabs feel they have something to lose by its absence. The freeze has taken that incentive away. Time to unfreeze the building, and the place to begin is with a new settlement in the name of the terror victims."

Posted by: benning | Sep 2, 2010 12:40:07 PM

The NYT is just vile, evil.

Posted by: Lynne | Sep 2, 2010 9:19:30 PM

Seems to me the international outrage against Rav Ovadia Yosef's "wishes for the new year" was much stronger than any condemnation of the Palestinian actions actually doing so against non-agressors.

Posted by: Shira | Sep 4, 2010 9:06:44 PM

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