Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Not Just Brutality, But Sexual Abuse?

Ynetnews.com has a very disturbing article about claims that the Yassam police abused the teenage girls in Amona.

And if you think that the violence was just directed at the protestors, read this account from Ben Chorin, who details how the police treated the Magen David Adom medics on the scene.

And if you think that this behavior is just directed at settlers, think again. Read this article in ynetnews.com with the "charming" headline: Cops Beat Ambassador's Wife.

You think we need a commission of inquiry into the police? Really? So do I , and so do a lot of people in Israel right now. The problem is that there are too many people who resent the settlers and think that we "deserve" getting smacked around. So they are being quiet about it.


Blogger Regina said...

The first article is very disturbing indeed... I could barely finish it. Thank you for keeping us all up to date on this, WestBankMama. Power is a scary thing when put into the hands of those who don't know how to handle it- but molesting young girls... what is going on here?!

3:12 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Tracey said...

Hello, I found your blog from links from others. "Horrified" doesn't begin to describe how I feel about all that I have read on the Amona situation. Some say these policemen/women weren't jews and some say they were. In either case, it is unfathomable to me that they would be so evil and brutal to treat other human beings this way.

As interested as I am in all things Jewish and in Israel as well, I had no idea there was such out and out hatred toward the settlers. I find the settlers to be incredibly brave and I admire their courage and their beliefs.

Thank you for all the links to the articles. I will continue to read your blog.

3:44 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Ben said...

For the record, I was just quoting Arutz Sheva. But thanks for the link.


4:16 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

Regina - I know it is disgusting but it is completely believable.

Tracey - welcome to my blog. I hope I have some positive things to write about soon!

Ben- I know that it was from Arutz Sheva, but I personally can't get into it from my computer (at least on Explorer). I really wish Makor Rishon would come out with an English version!

6:03 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Batya said...

It's all so terrible.

10:27 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger bec said...

this whole situation is absolutely disgusting. what bothers me more than anything is that the world always takes a closer look at israel and jews in general, and is always quicker to criticize us. we have a reputation to uphold. we should not be participants in behavior that we consider to be atrocious when others do it. (that's just putting it mildly. if you could hear what i REALLY want to say, you'd probably delete it from your blog!)

11:10 PM, February 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I couldn't believe it... all of the horror has kept me glued to A7 checking out the latest updates on it.

Someone needs to pay, and it needs to start at the top with Olmert.

2:39 AM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

muse, bec, and tovya - today they will be discussing the issue in the Knesset. The spin doctors are already saying that the vote will be in favor of a commission of inquiry, but that it will have to be approved again after the elections. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge - which means that if Kadima has a big majority, they will be able to vote it down in another vote and the whole thing will go away.

9:27 AM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger Tova Shulamit said...

This is a really sad situation I wish Israel all the best.

6:06 PM, February 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings Westbankmama. I like your blog. It's very thoughtful and well written.

Would you respond to this thought of mine? That the Israeli settler movement is a very different thing than the American pioneer movement. Almost an arm (and pawn) of the government.

You live in the Shomron. Maybe possessing one firearm, a handgun. Had to jump through all kinds of hoops to show you are worthy of preserving your life and and those of your dear ones. But in the old west, there never was such a restriction on self defense. The Indians were the enemy of progress, a danger that needed to be stopped cold. If a pioneer (just off the boat even) wanted any number of long guns or revolvers, provided he had the money, they could be had w/o difficulty.

The good people of Gush Katif sweated blood to make a wonderful community. One day, the government smiled on them because they were carrying out its aims. The next day, the government said: We control the land; we lent you the money to build; you no longer fit in the scheme of things. Get out, or we will make you get out.

The U.S. government never subsidized and never interfered with western settlement. It observed what happened to the British. The overthrow of British rule in the colonies was in part about London's blocking western settlement.

I wonder how Israel can survive the internal stresses. How can the government play with people's lives and fortunes? No one needs to be on the dole to build a great state. How does it (dare to) draw a distinction between Gaza or Tel-Aviv or Hebron or Jerusalem when the moslems certainly do not?

4:39 AM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

New reader - thank you and welcome to my blog. You make some good points.

The problems facing Israel now have deep roots in both its history and the cultural and religious differences between people here. A scholarly and in-depth analysis of some of the problems can be found here in English (PDF file):

To oversimplify, there are Jews who see this country as G-d given, so that there is no difference between Tel-Aviv and Hebron. Then there are Jews who label themselves as secular, who see this country as a refuge for the Jews, and whatever needs to be done (including giving up East Jerusalem and the Western Wall) to supposedly ensure people's safety should be done.

Most people are somewhere in the middle - labeling themselves as traditional, so that they have somewhat of a connection to parts of Israel conquered in the Six Day War (particularly Jerusalem and Gush Etzion) but are also, justifiably of course, very concerned with security.

The problem is that there really isn't a tradition of democratically deciding things here. The Israeli pioneers sacrificed a lot to make the desert bloom - and felt that they knew what was best for the whole country. This turned into an "elite" that controlled the Knesset,(at least until 1977) and later the media, and the courts, and academia.

The religious people in the early days of the state were also wary of having things decided democratically, as they wanted to preserve the Jewish character of Israel.

Therefore there was a compromise worked out with Ben Gurion, where he left the religious decisions to the religious (including marriage procedures, kashrut, etc.)and they left the "national" decisions to Ben Gurion.

This type of "negotiation" is what we have today - whoever has control more or less forces his worldview on everyone else, instead of coming to a democratic decision. (As a religious person who grew up in a non-religious home,I personally think that this is the wrong way to go. People come to love G-d and his Torah not by coercion but by exploring for themselves, and that we should be strengthening the democracy here.)

This is why the government's treatment of the settlers swings back and forth. When the Labor government wanted the areas settled, it approved. When the Likud came into power, they also approved. When subsequent Labor governments came into power, they reversed themselves (using, to give them credit, the disastrous decision by Begin to give up Yamit).

This also explains why the Knesset voted against a national referendum concerning the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. The 120 Knesset Members supposedly knew better than the whole country what was best. The ultra-Orthodox voted against the referendum out of fear that other issues would be brought to a referendum also.

10:16 AM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding, Westbankmama. I will read the pdf carefully.

Jefferson said that every thinking man's second country is France. Not so for me. For me, it is Israel. I want her to live and to be well, unreservedly. She is another land of the free and home of the brave.

The recent events at Hebron enfuriated me. Children ridden down by mounted policemen. Adults treated like filth. An MK smashed in the head. The fruit of labor of proud people destroyed, made nothing...and the moslems ululating and laughing their heads off in the distance as the police did the dirty work of driving Jews from Jewish land for them.

The moslems are the implacable enemy without, cruel and vicious. What difference does it make whether they call themselves PLO or Hamas? They all want to destroy Israel. To beat them there must be unity within Israel, I think Malkah Fleisher of Arutz Sheva said, and I agree. But I worry that the unity the government seeks with the majority is in marginalizing the pioneers, in showing contempt for the risk takers.

4:08 PM, February 09, 2006  
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