December 15, 2009
"Rush to Judgment"
Last Friday, in the Arab village of Yasuf, in Samaria, near the Jewish community of Tapuach, a mosque was vandalized.
News reports spoke of the fact of "mosque arson," but in point of fact the mosque wasn't torched. Korans and prayer rugs were burned, while the mosque was left in tact -- this fact visible from photos. Graffiti was written in Hebrew on the wall of the mosque: "Price tag -- Greetings from Effi." This is presumed to represent a radical group of "settlers" who have vowed to extract a price from the Arab population every time the Israeli government restricts development by Jews in Judea and Samaria. It is thus being assumed in many quarters that Jews did this in "revenge" for Netanyahu's building freeze.
Across Israel there have been condemnations of this act -- including by law enforcement officials and rabbis. The fact that they felt the need to condemn this passionately seems to indicate that they were assuming that it was likely Jews who did it. There were statements by law enforcement officials about how it's time to get tougher with the "extremists" in Judea and Samaria.
I believe that the assumption that "extremist" Jews did this IS a rush to judgment. There is a mind-set that tends to paint the "settlers" as bad, a danger to peace. This perception has been shaped by Arab and leftist PR and been assimilated to a large degree. And the assumption that Jews who live in Samaria set fire to a mosque fits right in with that.
If it turns out that Jews did do this, I will roundly condemn them. But I am not prepared to do so yet, for a host of reasons:
The law enforcement officials have come out full force in investigating this. But as I write, there is not only no suspect, but no lead. Clearly, they keep close tab on those Jews considered to be radical. That there is not even a "lead" after four days gives pause. The fact that there was an ostensible graffiti "signature" from a radical group does not, of course, mean that this group really did the vandalizing. As the Regional Council of Samaria pointed out, "Who would be stupid enough to leave a name?"
And there is more:
Reports I received today indicate that the mosque has already been cleaned up, so that a police investigation of the "scene of the crime" is impossible. (News reports did say that the PA was going to be doing the clean-up.) As it was, the damage was relatively minimal. Not destruction of a mosque, but of the accessories of prayer -- just enough destruction to make press and to make a fuss over.
Over a period of years, there have been accusations of Jewish "radicals" cutting down Arab olive trees, but on several occasions it turned out that Arabs themselves had cut down the trees to make Jews in the area look bad. Seems strange from our perspective, that they would damage their own property. But that's because we don't think as these Arabs do. The same thinking takes place in Gaza. Terrorists target the crossings from Israel into Gaza, making it necessary for Israel to close the crossings for a period. This means that the supplies don't get to the people. But that's OK, for it's more important to make Israel look bad for closing crossings.
Ponder this carefully.
The working assumption is that the mosque was vandalized by a radical Jewish group in "retaliation" for the government freeze. But the freeze wasn't just announced. It's a good couple of weeks old. So why now?
What is new is the priority map, which was just announced last week by Netanyahu. It indicates which communities will receive special attention. And guess what? A number of communities in Judea and Samaria were included (more follows on this below). How threatening to the Arabs who want to see us move back to the Green Line. Is it coincidence that the "arson" took place last Friday, just two days after the announcement?
When a contingent of rabbis from the Shomron (Samaria) tried to visit Yasuf, they were rebuffed. The residents there said these rabbis were radicals, or associated with radicals. I though this a little strange, as one of the rabbis was Rabbi Froman of Tekoa, who has a reputation of sustaining warm relationships with Arabs, and he had brought his Arabic-speaking son with him.
What did the Yasuf villagers say? That they need the land to be rid of "settlers." No peaceful co-existence. No acceptance of peaceful gestures. Get out.
I noted this carefully when it was said, and everyone else needs to note it, as well. The vandalized mosque potentially provides "evidence" for the world to see of why Jews should not live in Judea and Samaria.
Read the whole thing.
As she mentions above, if in fact Jews did vandalize the mosque, they will be condemned.
And as I already posted today, the reaction from Israel will be far different than the one from Palestinian leaders when Palestinian Arabs vandalize and destroy synagogues.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Gaza and Hamas and Operation Cast Lead.