Hebron’s Hardline Jewish Settlers! A Harriet Sherwood production

Harriet Sherwood’s story on April 4, Israel evicts settlers from Hebron house, reported on the forced removal, by Israeli security personnel, of a Jewish family from a house in Hebron yesterday – a home they claimed to have purchased legally. (According to Israeli authorities, the family had failed to obtain the required permit to purchase property.)  

Sherwood’s report included these lines:

Israeli security forces have evicted a group of hardline settlers from a Palestinian house in Hebron,

About 500 hardline settlers live in a closed military zone in the heart of Hebron, protected by a large military presence.

Sherwood’s previous report, on April 3, prior to the eviction, included this headline:

That report included this:

The Israeli prime minister has intervened to prevent the eviction of hardline Jewish settlers from a house in the tense West Bank city of Hebron…

What is a “hardline settler”?

Well, in the context of Hebron it refers to Jews who live in perhaps the oldest Jewish community in the world, which dates back to Biblical times – designated as the second holiest city in Judaism, containing sites of historical significance such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Jews have lived in Hebron almost continuously throughout the Byzantine, Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman periods, and it was only in 1929 — as a result of an Arab pogrom in which 67 Jews were murdered and the remainder were forced to flee — that the city became temporarily “free” of Jews.

Under Jordanian control from 1949 to 1967 Jews were not allowed to enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and authorities undertook a systematic campaign to obliterate evidence of the Jewish history in the city.  They razed the Jewish Quarter, desecrated the Jewish cemetery and built an animal pen on the ruins of the Avraham Avinu synagogue.

After the 1967 Six-Day War, the Jewish community of Hebron was re-established, and today the city has approximately 500 Jews (who live there consistent with the terms of the Oslo accords accepted by the PA) and 150,000 Arab residents.

Calling Jews currently living or wishing to live in Hebron “settlers” necessarily implies that they are colonizing land with which they have no connection.

Worse, referring to such Israelis as “hardline settlers”, as Sherwood does, suggests that there’s something radical or extreme about the desire not to keep the city completely free of Jews. 

Hardline Jewish settler boy in Hebron on Purim

Such characterizations demonstrate either intellectually laziness or – more likely – ideologically-inspired, completely ahistorical, propaganda. 

5 replies »

  1. I’m not too sure about hard line settlers,but I do know that there are Hardline idiotic journalists like this Harriet Sherwood who works for a Hardline racist anti-Semitic rag called the Guardian………

    • The extreme radicalization and violence of some of Hebron settlers is nothing new. Were Adam Levick a professional journalist, he would go and report directly from Hebron. There he would meet the young Israeli soldiers tasked with protecting Palestinian civilians living in Hebron from the few handful of radicalized, religious settlers living in settlements built in violation of international law deep inside the Palestinian territory. These soldiers would tell him how disgusted they feel at some of these settlers who harass innocent Palestinian women and children, and even insult the soldiers on a daily basis. Levick would even see with his own eyes some settlers insult our soldiers because of their Russian or Ethiopian origin, which is apprently not to their taste. He would also listen to our soldiers wondering why they serve three years in Hebron while many Hebron settlers never served in Tsahal and do not work, instead relying on social allowances paid by Israeli taxpayers to go by.

      Every Jew in the world has the right to pray in Hebron. This gives the right to a handful of radicalized settlers neither to move into confiscated houses inside Hebron’s Old City, nor to turn it into a ghost town or to harasse Palestinian women and children living there. these very actions desecrate the Machpela Cave where so many Jews want to pray in peace, not in the shadow of radicalized settlers..

      • True, there are some “militant” religious Jews in Hebron from all accounts I’ve read and heard, but to say that the IDF’s mission there is to protect hundreds of thousands of Arabs from this hand full of people is a bit absurd. 1929 anyone?
        What if the IDF pulled out? What do you think would happen? Would the Arabs be overrun?
        “Every Jew in the world has a right to pray in Hebron.” Really? Is that notion universally accepted? I would say it isn’t.
        My reaction to people using the term “international law” has become pretty much the same reaction I now have to the same people screaming “racism,” i.e., the words are being rendered almost meaningless through misuse by those who are oh so disappointed with the incontrovertibly utter failure of Marxism, and their ideological progeny who now have the utter gall to pass themselves of as “progressive” and “liberal.” It breaks my heart.

  2. The purchase did was not reviewed in length by the courts.

    Never the less, the real question is what will the PA do to the person who sold them the house if it is found out that they did buy it legaly…