In Hebron settler tours, “Palestine means terrorism.”
November 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
Hebron’s old city (H1 and H2) is one of the most obvious manifestations of Israel’s apartheid system. In cities such as Nazareth, Yaffa, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Beer al Saba (Beer Sheva) institutionalized racial segregation may not seem apparent. In Hebron, racism is in-your-face blatant.
On saturday 10 November, Israeli soldiers secured the old city streets of Hebron for settlers who took part in what is a weekly tour. Brona McDonald recorded the audio of a speech delivered by a settler tour guide to dozens of Hebron settlers and their visitors (not always Israeli, and often Jewish-American visitors). The full-text of the tour guide’s speech is transcribed at the end of this post.
According to a report, the leading Rabbi of the Israeli Shas party gave a speech in Hebron 8 days after the speech documented below, on 18 November, during which he said: “The IDF must learn from the Syrians how to slaughter and crush the enemy,” referring to the war on Gaza.
Five Israeli settlements have been built in the West Bank city of Hebron, currently home to approximately 500 settlers. 2000 Israeli Defense Soldiers guard these settlers. In addition to 500 settlers and 150,000 Palestinians living in the city, Hebron is home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) – a site holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians. In 1929, 59 Jews were massacred in the city by Palestinians. In 1994, Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinian Muslims in prayer.
Today, the city is divided in half by illegal settlements whose residents have transformed the spatial orientation of the city and, along with the Israeli soldiers, are purveyors of daily structural and direct violence.
10 November is also a special day in the Jewish calendar commemorating Abraham’s purchase of the cave to bury his wife, Sarah.
For the occasion, Jewish Israelis (some estimate 8,000) have come to stay in Hebron for Shabbat, spanning Friday to Saturday evening. On most Shabbat Saturdays, Hebron settlers walk through the old city accompanied by Israeli soldiers (Israeli military presence in Area A, a violation of the Oslo Accords). On this special Saturday, hundreds of Israelis gather behind the gated community (settlement) waiting to be let into the old city by the Israeli soldiers and police. Standing just outside the gate, we wait in nervous anticipation.
Numerous groups of settlers consecutively flow through the gates between 1.30pm and sunset flanked by the soldiers on every side.
Often, these soldiers serve to safeguard the onlookers more so than the settlers themselves who passionately shouted “go home” and “this is Israel” to foreign onlookers, and pulled down a trader’s hanging wares.
The following is a transcription from one settler tour-guide’s summary of the political situation as he sees it on 10 November (listen to the audio here):
“Palestine is the name that the Romans. Eighteen centuries ago, they decided to change the name of the country: it was ‘Provincia Judea’ and they changed it to ‘Provincia Palestina.’ They did it as a revenge against the….Palestine or Palestina does not have any connection to Arabs…
[An international observer accidentally knocks over a shop-owners’ stand of beads to the amusement of the settler tour.] Ah…look what they do.. look what you do. They came and cause damage to people here. What you are doing there?
90 years ago the British Mandate; they nominated a man called Amin al Husseini to be the grand Mufti, the highest Muslim leader in Palestine and the Mufti decided to create a new nation and he called it the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Arab people was created 90 years ago by the Mufti and the first thing that this so-called nation did was terror action. The Jews in Hebron were massacred by the Arabs led by that Mufti: The Mufti Amin al Husseini, the founder of the Palestinian people.
After killing the Jews in Hebron and other places in the country, the Mufti decided to become a greater leader. So, in 1941 he moved to Berlin. He met Hitler, he had a meeting with Hitler and they decided together to finalize the Final Solution for the Jews in Palestine. So this is, this is the creator of the so-called Palestinian people. And when you see this red inscription: ‘This is Palestine’ [‘This is Palestine,’ is stenciled on the wall], I suppose you see around many, many inscriptions like this mostly written here by some…not Arab visitors, but people who belong to the anarchist organizations and they support the terror, they support the Nazi movement, they continue the way of the Mufti to…of the Islamic Nazi terrorism and anti-Semitism. So, this is mostly what these people think. I think we can see some of them here…[The tour guide gestures to the bemused internationals.] and the meaning of the, the…Palestine means terrorism…….the other explanation today and the way of Palestine, of course, Baruch HasShem [with God’s help], we are not…we know the truth and Baruch HaShem [with God’s help], we are not…we know it from the, we know that, we are used to them and there is no problem about that…maybe.
Yes, ok. Now, lets go to this direction…”
*This article was co-written with Brona McDonald.