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How extremist Israeli settlers celebrate the harvest festival

Sukkot, the Jewish holiday that marks the fall harvest festival and also commemorates 40 years of wandering by ancient Jews in the desert, commences at sundown on Wednesday. Jews throughout the world are building their local Sukkah, a temporary shelter that usually takes the form of a tent. So how are extremist Israeli Jewish settlers celebrating this holiday? By ruining the harvests of Palestinian farmers.

Here is an infuriating summary from News Nosh, (which is, btw, a great new source of news from Israel presented by Americans for Peace Now –get it for free by emailing

Olive picking season has arrived, meaning extremist settlers have new targets. Sunday was already a big day…Farmers from Farata village, southwest of Nablus, found their olives stolen. Soldiers were meant to coordinate a safe passage from settler attacks for villagers to pick olives but canceled due to a shortage in numbers, an official said. Meanwhile in [the] Yanun village, southeast of Nablus near Itamar, dozens of settlers attacked farmers and blocked them from their lands to harvest olives. Israeli army coordination to protect farmers has been postponed until Oct. 21. To the east of Nablus, settlers from Elon Moreh cut down 45 olives trees in Deir al-Hatab village. South of Nablus, dozens of Itamar settlers threw rocks at farmers who were trying to pick olives near the village of Awarta and stole harvest equipment. These clashes were reported in the Israeli press because the land – which lies inside the fence of Itamar settlement belongs to the extended Awwad family, two of whose members murdered the Fogel family six months ago. At least three Palestinians were injured.


These attacks are not necessarily related to the “price tag” campaign that has been launched by extremist settlers trying to demonstrate that any attempts to dismantle settlements will be met with violence. The annual festival of harassing Palestinians during olive season–as well as other seasons–has been going on for years in the West Bank. Here is one documented by B’Tselem in 2002. Here is another in 2006.

To their credit, like Israeli officials, mainstream American Jewish leaders condemned the price tag vigilantes after the widely publicized defacement of a mosque in Israel proper last week. But I don’t recall anyone in the American Jewish establishment condemning the routine, vicious harassment of Palestinian farmers in the West Bank. Doing so during this holiday week of Succot would be a powerful signal that the American Jewish community –my community–is not wandering around in a moral desert.

19 thoughts on “How extremist Israeli settlers celebrate the harvest festival

  1. A lot of palestinians who murdered Jews are getting out this week. You might have written something about that. I always thought you were better then guys like Phil ( Hitler should have finished the job ) Weiss. But I don’t know now.

  2. What is that supposed to mean? I haven’t been writing about much of anything lately on this blog. Haven’t seen the point. But even if I wanted to comment on the Shalit deal, I wouldn’t have anything new or useful to say. From the tenor of your comment, you seem to be implying that anyone who favors the deal or doesn’t speak out against it is in league with anti-Semites –or people whom you deem to be anti-Semitic. Guess you’re writing off most Israelis, then, huh?

  3. The guy that stabbed Helen Rapp to death is getting out. The woman behind the Sbarro bombing. The guy who decided that dipping his hands in the blood of Jews is getting out. Any thoughts?

  4. What do you expect me to say? It’s terrible, horrible and atrocious that these and other murderers were set free. Many Israelis think it was a price worth paying. On the one hand, you castigate me when I criticize Israeli decisions related to settlements or diplomacy because, you always say, I’m not Israeli and “they know better.” But now you take it upon yourself to criticize them for making this incredibly painful choice?

  5. Bill,

    I’ve always thought it was bad policy to have these very lop-sided prisoner exchanges. The implication is that one Israeli is worth 1,000 or more Palestinians. That is absurd! The first of these exchanges occurred about a quarter century ago when Shamir was prime minister and Rabin was defense minister. When I lived in Israel before that, Israel had a reputation of never giving in to hostage demands. But over the last 30 years Israel has gotten to be much more emotional. I guess, Bill, you can give the Israelis a good example of clear logical unemotional thinking to emulate.

  6. Tom, you detach the emotion from this and what do you have. Extortion, a shake down. And Israel caved like a house of cards. It bodes ill for the future.

  7. Tom Mitchell-
    It is not that Israel has become “more emotional”. The reason is that the leadership of the country has become “post-Zionist” and criminally irresponsible. This is because the people of Israel, out of a sense of apathy, repeatedly elect these irresponsible people to power. This applies to both the Left AND the Right. In the 1990’s a clear decision was made that it is better for civilians to die than soldiers and the leaders got tired of hearing complaints from foreign leaders about the Palestinian problem and so they decided to capitulate to Arab terror in order to curry favor with this foreign pressure (and in order to win Nobel Peace Prizes, gracious welcomes at the UN like Sharon got after Gush Katif, etc), knowing that they could get the population to accept these suicidal policies. This current atrocity is in line with these criminal policies, even though it is being carried out by “the Right”.

  8. The extremists and opponents of peace always complain when the peace makers win prizes. The same thing was heard in Northern Ireland from the DUP and UKUP when UUP leader David Trimble won a Nobel Prize for making peace and sharing power with the nationalists. Now there is peace in Northern Ireland and the DUP is sharing power not with the anti-violence SDLP, but with the former terrorists of Sinn Fein. Sharon is gone, but we can only hope that one day another leader from the Right sees the value in making peace–by ending the settlement enterprise–with the Palestinians.

  9. I’d oppose allowing Palestinian murderers out if there were a lot of Israeli war criminals in jail. Plus I gather that some of the Palestinians in Israeli jail aren’t necessarily guilty of anything–it seems somewhat twisted that the ones actually guilty of atrocities will be released. But anyway, since Palestinians don’t get to jail Israeli thugs, I’m not overly sympathetic to Israeli complaints.

    “The implication is that one Israeli is worth 1,000 or more Palestinians. That is absurd! ”

    I’ve never understood how people draw this implication. Israel has the power to imprison Palestinians by the thousands, guilty or not, while Hamas managed to snatch some random unfortunate Israeli soldier (rather than someone who is a likely war criminal). The exchange rate is what it is because of that fact.

  10. (1) If these “peacemakers” really believed in what they were doing, they wouldn’t expect Prizes and monetary awards, and the international acclaim that goes along with the circus of the Nobel Prizes. Rabin and Peres knew Oslo would be a disaster, they simply didn’t care about the cost in casualties it brought, and they said so openly. Same with Sharon and the destruction of Gush Katif. The Israeli public , and particularly THE POLITICAL RIGHT, have acted like a bunch of docile sheep being led to the slaughter. They think it is “patriotism”, when it is actually stupidity.

    (2) Read this article to see the incompetant bunglers, if not outright criminally negligent fools who are running Israel, particularly Barak….. (This is Ben Caspit in Ma’ariv):

  11. Just making a point Dan. I don’t think that you feel that the wrong side won world war two. Unlike little Philly Weiss and his Eva Braun like wife. Just try to remember that its not Israels fault all the time. Every time.

  12. Bill,
    If you go to Bitter Lemons there is a former brigadier general who is now at a think tank, Shlomo Brom, who argues that the chance of recidivism from released prisoners about whom there is the most outcry is rather low, because they tend to retire or go into politics. Most of the prisoners are heading for Gaza, where the main method of striking at Israel is through rockets and doesn’t require their assistance. Brom claims that PA security capabilities are now sufficient to adequately monitor those returning to the West Bank.

  13. Every time the Israeli gov’t made a major capitulation to Arab terror (Olso Agreement, the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon, the destruction of Gush Katif and the Tannenbaum prisoner release) the regime trucked out all these Generals (i.e. supposed “security experts”) and they assured us that we were not taking any chances by carrying out these suicidal policies. THEY WERE WRONG EVERY TIME.
    When Barak ran for Prime MInister in 1999, he presented a group of nine generals who supported him and who were referred to as a special security group Barak would rely on. Well, they gave us the suicide bomber campaign which Barak failed to halt.
    I have no respect for these “politician generals” who put their political careers or those of their pals ahead of the security of the country. They are lying and they know it.
    Even if none of those released in Bibi’s latest capitulation actually return to terrorist work, the deal is still a major strategic defeat for Israel since it shows once again that Israel is weak, and that terrorists won’t have to pay for their crimes.

  14. Too bad Samir Kuntar wasn’t able to drop in on the Weiss household back in the day. Then again his parents probablu had a nice portrait of Himmler up so why would he

  15. Looks like the most recent post here was before the latest skirmish. I’m not changing my mind on this. I think the only true solution, where both parties can win, is for Gaza to be incorporated into Egypt. And perhaps West Bank into Jordan, entities as semi-autonomous townships, or whatever the hell they have over there.

    I’ve heard a number of authoratative voices bring this up–and I think everything else is unworkable. Can we all agree there’s never going to be a true negotiation for two states? Neither side really wants it. Which explains the dysfunction and madness. Let’s move on. The U.S. and allies should arm wrestle Egypt into taking Gaza. That means, taking over responsibility for their water supply, utilities and employment. Israel needs to shut the door on this one…

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