W. Bank settlers hold marches to protest UN bid

Around 200 march in northern Samaria to protest Palestinian statehood bid; “We’re here to show the world that this is ours," says resident.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
September 20, 2011 21:22
2 minute read.
Itamar protest

Itamar protest. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

With the United Nations special session on the Palestinian statehood bid set for Friday, around 200 settlers held a march in northern Samaria, which they said was meant to show that Israel would not be divided.

Followed by a battalion of foreign and local journalists, the march set out from the Fogel family household, where five members of the same family were murdered in a Palestinian terror attack in March.

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The march then made its way to a junction a few kilometers down the hill from the settlement, where the crowd of mainly teenage boys danced and sang while a van full of Breslav hassidic Jews blasted religious-themed techno music.

The Itamar march was the largest of four demonstrations held Tuesday, joining similar but smaller protests in the settlements of Beit El, Kiryat Arba and Hebron.

Standing outside the Fogel house, Samaria Regional Council spokesman Yossi Dagan said the message of the march is “no to a state for murderers and no to a terrorist state.”

“We want to show the world that the people of Israel are alive, happy and well – and we aren’t leaving here,” Dagan added.

Walking to the junction that leads to Nablus, which was closed to Palestinian traffic during the march, Benjamin Allen, a resident of nearby Yitzhar, said “we’re here to show the world that this is ours.”

In regards to the upcoming Palestinian statehood vote, Allen said “I think it’s just a side-show right now. I think that there won’t be much pressure on us because the United States won’t go along with this vote. But I think if [US President Barack] Obama is reelected he’ll put pressure on Israel. Since he won’t be able to do anything domestically, he’ll focus on foreign stuff – and the first place will be here, then we‘ll feel the pressure.”

When asked if people in Yitzhar are fearful of the statehood vote, Allen said “the people in Yitzhar are very strong and they have a great deal of faith. They aren’t afraid of anything. We just carry on, it’s all we can do.”

Also Tuesday, about 15 demonstrators showed up at the entrance to Kiryat Arba waving Israeli flags, though the hordes of journalists on the scene had difficulty discerning who was protesting and who was waiting to hitchhike to Jerusalem.

“‘Peace’ is one of the most frightening things,” said Baruch Marzel, a right-wing activist. “Whenever there is ‘peace,’ Israelis are killed,” he said, adding that attempts at negotiations inevitably led to more waves of terror attacks and more deaths of Israeli civilians.

Marzel said he did not believe a Palestinian state would be formed in the near future, but the settlers were ready to act against it. Right-wing group My Israel has planned “shadow marches” wherever Palestinians plan to march in support of the UN bid this week.

“We’re going to fight. If Jews don’t have a right to live in Hebron, where Jewish history started 3,800 years ago, then where do they have a right to live?” he asked. “Should we go back to Auschwitz?”


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