ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Morality and ‘Balance’

Morality and ‘Balance’

31 October 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Extremist settlers in the Nablus area have been attacking Palestinian farmers engaged in their olive harvest and if this was not enough, they vandalize public and private property in the village.  Under such violent conditions villagers left their homes.  Except for a few, the rabbis, including those from Judea and Samaria have condemned such behavior.  The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, but no Jew has the right to steal from anyone living here, including non-Jews.  The rights of the individual to his property are also sacred.

Tuesday, Israeli academics and intellectuals including AB Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman and Rabbi Froman (from the settlement of Tekoa) all arrived to help the Palestinians in their olive harvest.  Such help is the true face of the Jewish people and not the extremist, peripheral elements among a very small minority of the settlers in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).   The cultural and academic representatives of Israeli society expressed best what most Israelis feel and they deserve full credit for their activist moral stance.

Juxtaposed to such ethical behavior we have the continued vandalism, cattle rustling, theft and terror perpetrated by criminal and even semi-terrorist Palestinian elements against Israeli farmers in the Lachish (Kiryat Gat region), just west of the 1967 border in the Hebron area.  Linking up with local Israeli beduin, Palestinians from the  Judean hills are doing their best to destroy the farming communities established in the 1950’s between the West Bank and Gaza in areas seen as a model of Third World development by the UN.  Many of the farmers came from a post Holocaust Europe or from the Jewish communities of the Arab and Moslem world.

The Israeli police do not have the means to stop the Palestinian criminal actions nor do the Border Police with only limited resources at their disposal.  The Border Police are reduced to removing Arab physical encroachment on Jewish land as many farmers are abandoning their ranches and the Arabs are taking up illegal residence.  The beduin even had enough hutzpah to petition the Supreme Court to allow them to settle on the ‘abandoned’ lands – they were turned down twice.

There are paradoxes between the two situations.  The police have detained some 20 extremists settlers in the case of attacking Palestinian olive farmers in the Nablus area but are unable to protect Jewish ranchers in the Lachish.  The Israeli cultural elite is  helping the Palestinians but have not even spoken out in defense of the Jewish victims.  And certainly the Palestinian cultural elite refuses to say anything about long standing criminal attacks (and in particular car thefts) against Israeli civilians along the entire former frontier.

The western press spends an inordinate amount of time looking for ‘balance’ where it does not exist.  They equate terrorism and anti-terrorism and condemn both since “all violence is bad”.  But when an honest ‘balanced’ reporting is called for they are nowhere to be found.

Could that be because the victims are Israeli Jews?