Skip to comments.55 minutes from Tel Aviv [Jews Everywhere! Arabs "Oppressed"]
Posted on 10/09/2006 7:06:03 AM PDT by Alouette
Expansion of Gush Etzion continues unabated; Arabs pay price
Once every few hours in recent days, Army Radio has been broadcasting commercials calling on Israeli citizens to visit the Gush Etzion area during the Sukkoth holiday to enjoy the various festivities being held there, such as treading grapes, a kite festival and jeep safaris.
And all this, the commercial says, is just 55 minutes from Tel Aviv and 15 minutes from Jerusalem.
During these pleasure tours over the holidays, participants will get a chance to see to what extent settlements and outposts have expanded (some illegally) in recent years.
What participants will not hear from organizers is how the settlements were expanded; the methods by which lands were expropriated from Palestinian Arabs; the expansion orders given by the Israeli civilian administration and the seizing of private Palestinian land by settlers in the dark of night.
But they will not see the olive groves and the vines of the village of Hussan uprooted by bulldozers so that Beitar Elite could be expanded. They won't see the private plots of land belonging to the residents of Bethlehem and Beit Jala that were fenced off by settlers. Because the organizers aren't interested in showing their guests from Tel Aviv the dark side of Israeli existence in Gush Etzion.
Over the years we have become accustomed to ignoring the injustices going on in the Territories; we suppress them and go on as usual. For example, the new report published by Peace Now this week regarding expansion of outposts: For a few hours the topic was discussed on a radio program, and then it seemingly disappeared into a state of oblivion.
The settlers' claim that the report was false and exaggerated helped calm the consciences of Israelis eager for balance.
The facts published in the report, however, are hard to conceal: Since the beginning of the year the government has issued tenders for building 952 housing units in the Territories four times as many compared to the same period last year; not only were the illegal outposts not removed, building there was accelerated, roads were broken through and land was prepared for construction.
Expansion under cover of war
Peace Now argued that expansion of the outposts was carried out under the cover of war. Settler spokespersons were outraged by this statement. The bottom line was that the expropriation of land and the harsh attitude towards their neighbors continued (in May of this year Central Command Chief Major-General Yair Naveh signed a decree calling for the expansion of the jurisdiction of four settlements: Givat Zeev, Oranit, Beitar Elite and Maskiot.
And now is the olive harvest season, and there is almost no doubt that thugs from the settlements - who have been spreading fear among their neighbors at the time of harvest every year - will continue to do so now, even if just to test Amir Peretz's assurance that he would take severe measures against thugs who would cut down plantations and destroy crops.
A weak defense minister, who is indifferent to the expansion of illegal outposts and the continuation of land expropriation, will find it difficult to show determination against the vandalism of hilltop youth.
Jerusalem and its neighborhoods can be seen from the observation point at Gush Etzion, and it seems as though Gush Etzion will link up to the capital of Israel in just an instance. Even if they see their Palestinian neighbors' villages and towns right in front of them, they will ignore the sight and imagine the future annexation that will take place on more Arab land.
Only 55 minutes from Tel Aviv and 15 minutes from Jerusalem and the Israeli tourist arrives at another land. Perhaps this is the place that inspired Yehuda Amichai's poem "The place where we are right."
"From the place where we are right, flowers will never grow in the spring. The place where we are right is hard and trampled like a yard."
After all, it worked out so well in Gaza and brought so much Peace Now.
Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.
There are a lot of Jews in Israel? I am absolutely shocked!
Gotta watch those eviiiiil JOOS.
But I thought the protesters at Columbia said there are no "illegal" people?
Didn't you get the memo? White Republicans and Jews don't count, they can still be illegal.
If I didn't know better, I would think that the Jews had actually built all of the infrastructure in Israel instead of just stealing it.
Allah gave this land to the Jews...And anyway, there's some prime real estate down by Gaza that the Israelis vacated...An excellent place for these Arabs to relocate...Nice houses, green lawns, acres and acres of green houses filled with fresh vegetables,,,
The Etzion Bloc ("Gush Etzion" in Hebrew), which today consists of 18 communities and nearly 40,000 residents, is located between Jerusalem and Hebron. Because of its strategic location, the Bloc was heavily contested during Israel's War of Independence in 1947 and 1948. Although the area was not granted to Israel under the 1947 partition plan, the commanders of the Haganah considered it an essential buffer against a southern attack on Jerusalem.
In early 1927, a small group of immigrants from Yemen, along with a few ultra-Orthodox residents of what was then Palestine, established a community south of Jerusalem named Migdal Eder, named after a site mentioned in the Torah in Genesis 35:21. The community failed to flourish due to constant economic problems and tensions with the nearby Arab villages. During the Arab riots of 1929, Migdal Eder was destroyed. The residents were spared by the villagers of the neighboring Palestinian community Beit Umar.
In 1930, the site of the former Migald Eder was purchased by Shmuel Yosef Holtzman, who wanted to establish a Jewish community in between Bethlehem and Hebron. The word holtz in German literally means wood, which is translated into Hebrew as etz, so Holtzman named the community Kfar Etzion after his own name. Again, Arab riots, this time in 1936, demolished most of what Holtzman had built, and the violence forced the inhabitants out of the area. Jews finally did settle the area between 1943-1947, and established four small communities, which were all subsequently destroyed during Israels War of Independence.
At the outset of the conflicts in 1947, Gush Etzion consisted of four settlements: Kfar Etzion (the first settlement in the area, founded in 1943), Masuot Yitzhak, Ein Tzurim and Revadim. On January 14, 1947, an army of more than 1,000 Arabs, led by Abdul-Khadr Husseini, attacked the settlements. While the 450 settlers were able to repulse the attackers, the settlements were devastated, in need of reinforcements, and vulnerable to a future attack. The Haganah sent a platoon of 35 soldiers from Hartuv, led by Commander Danny Mass, with medical supplies and ammunition. But reaching the Bloc proved difficult. On their first attempt, the soldiers were detected by Arab forces, and were forced to retreat. Before a second attempt could be fully organized, Mass pushed ahead without orders, and proceeded towards the besieged area.
While still on the way from Hartuv, the platoon was detected by the Arabs. With no way to call for assistance, Mass led his troops to the top of the highest hill in the area, and searched for cover. But the 35 were unable to escape, and they were massacred by hundreds of Arab militants. Their stripped, mutilated bodies were found the next day by a British patrol, but were not sent to Jerusalem because of a fear of retaliation.
Gush Etzion was again the center of conflict in May of 1948, when, for a period of three days, residents of Kfar Etzion were able to hold off a large Arab army headed for Jerusalem. Eventually, despite surrendering to the Arab army, 240 residents of the kibbutz were massacred, another 260 were captured, and the settlement was razed.
After Israel regained control of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas in the West Bank in June 1967, a new initiative was launched to resettle the Etzion area. Several of the new residents of Kfar Etzion were descendants of the people who fought and died in 1948. Kfar Etzion was the first settlement established in the West Bank after Israels victory in the Six Day War.
The population of Gush Etzion in 2004 was, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, approximately 44,000 residents, which includes the 3,300 residents living in the other six settlements of the Gush Etzion regional council outside of the main bloc.
|Alon Shevut||1970||Religious village||
|Har Gilo||1972||Non-Religious village||
|Kfar Etzion||1967||Religious Kibbutz||
|Metzad (Asfar)||1984||Ultra-Orthodox Zionist||
|Migdal Oz||1977||Religious Kibbutz||
|Nokdim (El David)||1982||Mixed||
|Pnei Kedem (Metzad Bet)||2000||Mixed||
|Rosh Tzurim||1969||Religious Kibbutz||
Not allowed citizenship by neighboring Arabs, no work permits,no etc etc ...Yeh they 'take care of their own' as long as it's sending AK47s to shoot everyone else!
Haven't you heard? the reason Gaza is such a nightmare is that the Jews have prevented them (the Palestinians) from prospering.
I've read just that, on other boards, so it must be true. No sense in taking any personal responsibility, that never comes up. I wonder why?
A little about Gush Etzion in the previous post. Like most of the "settlements" purchased land, established settlements, Arab riots, and on winning the area in the 1948 war, the Arab's slaughtered what Jews they could and, looking toward their economic future, destroyed the settlements and all productive facilities. A for-runner of Gaza by about 60 years.
The History of Gush Etzion
Known as the southern gateway to Jerusalem, this strategic area comprises the block of communities that defended the southern approach to Jerusalem against the invading armies in the 1948 Israel War of Independence.
Historically, the area is replete with Biblical scenes and stories of heroism and bravery starting with the time of our forefathers. It was here that Abraham and Isaac passed through on their sojourn from Hebron to Mount Moriah, in its pastoral landscape Ruth gathered the sheaves from the fields of Bethlehem, upon its hilltops David shepherded his father`s sheep and then went on to proclaim his kingdom, and in its deep caves the Maccabees and the Jewish fighters of Bar Kochba sought shelter.
Four brave attempts were made in the last century to populate the area, until finally on the fourth, after the 1967 Six Day War, the Jewish people were successful in settling the area permanently. The first attempt was in 1927, but harsh physical conditions forced the settlers to abandon the settlement they had established, Migdal Eder. The second attempt was made by Shmuel Holtzman in 1935, who established the village of Kfar Etzion and after whom Gush Etzion is named (Holtz=tree=etz). Repeated Arab attacks drove the pioneers away. The third attempt was in 1943, when different affiliated groups established four settlements, the rebirth of Kfar Etzion, Masuot Yitzchak, Ein Tzurim, and Revadim, for a total population of 450 adults. In 1948, all four settlements were totally destroyed. The Arabs murdered 240 men and women, with another 260 being taken into captivity. Prime Minister Ben Gurion in 1948 eulogized the defenders of Gush Etzion and their heroic stand against the Jordanian Legion as such. "I can think of no battle in the annals of the Israel Defense Forces which was more magnificent, more tragic or more heroic than the struggle for Gush Etzion If there exists a Jewish Jerusalem, our foremost thanks go to the defenders of Gush Etzion". (An excellent audio-visual show in Kfar Etzion documents these events.)
For 19 years, until the stunning victory of the 1967 Six Day War, the children of those parents who tragically fell and those who survived could only catch a glimpse from afar of the ancient oak tree located in the heart of Gush Etzion that symbolized for them their yearning to return and reclaim their heritage.
Today, the area, a crucial security buffer for the capital, is just a short 10 minute drive from Jerusalem through the new tunnels road, and is comprised of 20 dynamic and thriving communities with a population of over 20,000.