This video illustrates another violation of international law:
By Ethan Bronner
The New York Times
July 30, 2009
NERIA, West Bank - In this land of endless history and
ethereal beauty, several thousand Jewish settlers
gathered on a dozen
and Israeli flags over several days this week to mark
an invented anniversary and defy the American
president, conveying to his aides visiting
what they thought of his demand for a settlement freeze.
Eleven tiny settler outposts were inaugurated,
including one next to this settlement in the rugged
Samarian hills. A clearing encompassing a generator and
a hut with a corrugated metal roof and a ritual mezuza
on its doorpost now bears the name Givat Egoz. This is
how nearby Neria, with 180 families, got its start 18 years ago.
"We are rebuilding the
Shandorfi, leader of a religious academy at the
neighboring settlement outpost of Nahliel, said during
the ceremony. "Our hope is that there will be roads,
electricity and water." The message to President Obama,
he said, is that this is Jewish land. He did not use
the president's name, but an insulting Hebrew slang for
a black man and the phrase "that Arab they call a president."
None of the hundreds gathered - mostly couples with
large families, but also armed young men and teenagers
from other outposts - objected. Yitzhak Shadmi, leader
of the regional council of settlements, said Mr. Obama
was a racist and anti-Semite for his assertion that
Jews should not build here, but Arabs could.
Mr. Shadmi said the ceremonies across the West Bank
this week honored a moment in 1946 when Zionists
established 11 settlements in the northern
outposts to be established while
emissaries were visiting, he said. George J. Mitchell,
the special envoy for the
the settlement freeze, was in the
start of the week.
The national security adviser, James L. Jones, and a
White House adviser on the region, Dennis B. Ross, held
negotiations, which also include attempts to get Arab
governments and Palestinians to reciprocate if the
Israelis agree to the freeze.
"We wanted to do this while they were here," Mr. Shadmi
said. "We're saying, `Mitchell, go home.' "
When the settlement of Neria was created in 1991, it
had a similar purpose. Yossi Dermer, spokesman for the
settlement, said it was known slyly to intimates as
"the James Baker settlement" because it was set up to
convey a message of defiance before a visit by James A.
Baker III, secretary of state for the first President George Bush.
Israeli government approval and the new outposts did
not obtain it, the Israeli police have dismantled
several of the new ones already. But just as quickly,
they are being rebuilt, sometimes a bit bigger. At
nearly every outpost, the ruins left by past police
actions lie next to newly built huts.
"We'll build and build, and every time they destroy it
we will build bigger and better and prettier," asserted
Tirael Cohen, a 16-year-old girl who lives at Ramat
Migron, an extension of the unauthorized Migron
outpost, not far from Ramallah, a large Palestinian
city in the
pieces of wood were strewn on the ground nearby.
Tirael has lived at Ramat Migron for a year and a half
with 10 other girls, and, at a religiously modest
distance away, 10 boys live in a separate structure.
The girls cook, the boys build and maintain, and all
study at nearby religious academies.
About 40 religious girls from within
Bank settlements spent three days at Ramat Migron last
week in what they called "spiritual preparation" for
coming battles over the land.
On the outside wall of the kitchen is a rabbinical
quotation about the need to redeem the
It says "bare mountains and deserted fields cry out for
life and creation," and adds: "An internal revolution
is taking place here, a revolution in man and the
earth. These are the true pains of salvation."
The Migron outpost itself is expected to be taken down
because it is built on land that, according to a court
case, belongs to private Palestinian families.
Centuries-old olive trees dot the landscape.
The Obama administration is hoping to help establish a
Palestinian state in nearly all of the West Bank next
300,000 Israeli Jews who have settled here over four
decades, often at their government's urging.
Many could be incorporated into
adjustment; others say they would move if compensated.
But some, like these outpost settlers, say they will
never move because they believe they are fulfilling
God's plan with every hut they put up. They are likely
to be a major stumbling block to any attempt to find a
At the Neria outpost celebration, Noam Rein, a father
of 10, looked out across the hills at Ramallah and
called its presence "temporary."
He added: "The Torah says the
Jewish people. This is just the beginning. We will
build 1,000 homes here. The Arabs cannot stay here, not
because we hate them, but because this is not their place."
Among the religious leaders who spoke at the ceremony,
Rabbi Yair Remer of Harasha, a nearby outpost, noted
that Thursday was the Ninth of Av, a Jewish day of
mourning commemorating the destruction of the ancient
temples. He suggested that the best way to cope with
the tragedy of Jewish history was to do what the young
builders of this outpost were doing.
"The land rejoices because its children are returning
to her," he said, referring to Jewish settlers, making
no mention of the 2.5 million Palestinians here.
Tirael, the teenager from Ramat Migron, put it another
way: "I believe that every inch of this land is us, our
blood. If we lose one inch, it is like losing a person."
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company