Like all readers of the Times of Israel, I genuinely question why certain blogs have been written, or what exactly the author is attempting to say. Nonetheless, everyone is entitled to contribute to the Times of Israel, and the range of views available, from a gamut of authors, is one of its greatest strengths. However, there are times when I read something so offensive and factually flawed that I feel compelled to respond.
One such blog is that of Adam Bronfman, entitled “Otherwise, what’s the point?” found at http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/otherwise-whats-the-point/. In short, the author places the blame for all violence currently occurring in Israel squarely at the feet of the settlements, writing that, “Simply put, the settlements are the greatest impediment to enduring peace in Israel” and “I strongly believe that we can trace the trail of missed opportunities and increased vitriol directly from the first self-righteous construction of settlements. We must call for an end to settlements now and begin to heal from the destruction and suffering they have brought with them. Two peoples are being destroyed by them.”
This view, especially when espoused by a president of an organisation dealing within the world of education, is truly worrying. One, because it deliberately ignores history in seeking to make a facile political point, and secondly, and more importantly, rooting the actions of hundreds of terrorists in the building of settlements absolves them of all responsibility for their actions.
Firstly, Mr Bronfman should do his homework and read the mission statements of both Hamas and the Hizbullah, who repeatedly declare that even if Israel would fully withdraw from the territories they will continue their attacks, since they refute Israel’s basic right to exist.
Secondly, a basic knowledge of history will reveal that Arab terrorism occurred numerous times before the settlements had even begun to be built. Terrorism was rampant during the anti-Jewish riots in 1920-21 (including the brutal murder in Jaffa of the prominent Jewish author Y. Brenner), during the ‘Disturbances’ of 1929 (which included the massacre of the Jewish community in Hebron) and during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39,
After the War of Independence, this terrorism expanded rapidly. There were thousands of incidents of cross-border violence, extending from the malicious destruction of property to the brutal murder of civilians. I was originally minded to list just a few examples, but I believe that given the offence caused by Mr. Bronfman, it behoves us to list all the terrorist outrages that occurred in that period of time . This list is taken from here:
Jan 1, 1952 – Seven armed terrorists attacked and killed a nineteen year-old girl in her home, in the neighborhood of Beit Yisrael, in Jerusalem.
Apr 14, 1953 – Terrorists tried for the first time to infiltrate Israel by sea, but were unsuccessful. One of the boats was intercepted and the other boat escaped.
June 7, 1953 – A youngster was killed and three others were wounded, in shooting attacks on residential areas in southern Jerusalem.
June 9, 1953 – Terrorists attacked a farming community near Lod, and killed one of the residents. The terrorists threw hand grenades and sprayed gunfire in all directions. On the same night, another group of terrorists attacked a house in the town of Hadera. This occurred a day after Israel and Jordan signed an agreement, with UN mediation, in which Jordan undertook to prevent terrorists from crossing into Israel from Jordanian territory.
June 10, 1953 – Terrorists infiltrating from Jordan destroyed a house in the farming village of Mishmar Ayalon.
June 11, 1953 – Terrorists attacked a young couple in their home in Kfar Hess, and shot them to death.
Sept 2, 1953 – Terrorists infiltrated from Jordan, and reached the neighborhood of Katamon, in the heart of Jerusalem. They threw hand grenades in all directions. Miraculously, no one was hurt.
Mar 17, 1954 – Terrorists ambushed a bus traveling from Eilat to Tel Aviv, and opened fire at short range when the bus reached the area of Maale Akrabim in the northern Negev. In the initial ambush, the terrorists killed the driver and wounded most of the passengers. The terrorists then boarded the bus, and shot each passenger, one by one. Eleven passengers were murdered. Survivors recounted how the murderers spat on the bodies and abused them. The terrorists could clearly be traced back to the Jordanian border, some 20 km from the site of the terrorist attack.
Jan 2, 1955 – Terrorists killed two hikers in the Judean Desert.
Mar 24, 1955 – Terrorists threw hand grenades and opened fire on a crowd at a wedding in the farming community of Patish, in the Negev. A young woman was killed, and eighteen people were wounded in the attack.
Apr 7, 1956 – A resident of Ashkelon was killed in her home, when terrorists threw three hand grenades into her house.
Two members of Kibbutz Givat Chaim were killed, when terrorists opened fire on their car, on the road from Plugot Junction to Mishmar Hanegev.
There were further hand grenade and shooting attacks on homes and cars, in areas such as Nitzanim and Ketziot. One person was killed and three others wounded.
Apr 11, 1956 – Terrorists opened fire on a synagogue full of children and teenagers, in the farming community of Shafrir. Three children and a youth worker were killed on the spot, and five were wounded, including three seriously.
Apr 29, 1956 – Egyptians killed Roi Rotenberg, 21 years of age, from Nahal Oz.
Sept 12, 1956 – Terrorists killed three Druze guards at Ein Ofarim, in the Arava region.
Sept 23, 1956 – Terrorists opened fire from a Jordanian position, and killed four archaeologists, and wounded sixteen others, near Kibbutz Ramat Rachel.
Sept 24, 1956 – Terrorists killed a girl in the fields of the farming community of Aminadav, near Jerusalem.
Oct 4, 1956 – Five Israeli workers were killed in Sdom.
Oct 9, 1956 – Two workers were killed in an orchard of the youth village, Neve Hadassah, in the Sharon region.
Nov 8, 1956 – Terrorists opened fire on a train, attacked cars and blew up wells, in the North and Center of Israel. Six Israelis were wounded.
Feb 18, 1957 – Two civilians were killed by terrorist landmines, next to Nir Yitzhak, on the southern border of the Gaza Strip.
Mar 8, 1957 – A shepherd from Kibbutz Beit Govrin was killed by terrorists in a field near the Kibbutz.
Apr 16, 1957 – Terrorists infiltrated from Jordan, and killed two guards at Kibbutz Mesilot.
May 20, 1957 – A terrorist opened fire on a truck in the Arava region, killing a worker.
May 29, 1957 – A tractor driver was killed and two others wounded, when the vehicle struck a landmine, next to Kibbutz Kisufim.
June 23, 1957 – Israelis were wounded by landmines, close to the Gaza Strip.
Aug 23, 1957 – Two guards of the Israeli Mekorot water company were killed near Kibbutz Beit Govrin.
Dec 21, 1957 – A member of Kibbutz Gadot was killed in the Kibbutz fields.
Feb 11, 1958 – Terrorists killed a resident of Moshav Yanov who was on his way to Kfar Yona, in the Sharon area.
Apr 5, 1958 – Terrorists lying in ambush shot and killed two people near Tel Lachish.
Apr 22, 1958 – Jordanian soldiers shot and killed two fishermen near Aqaba.
May 26, 1958 – Four Israeli police officers were killed in a Jordanian attack on Mt. Scopus, in Jerusalem.
Nov 17, 1958 – Syrian terrorists killed the wife of the British air attache in Israel, who was staying at the guesthouse of the Italian Convent on the Mt. of the Beatitudes.
Dec 3, 1958- A shepherd was killed at Kibbutz Gonen. In the artillery attack that followed, 31 civilians were wounded.
Jan 23, 1959 – A shepherd from Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan was killed.
Feb 1, 1959 – Three civilians were killed by a terrorist landmine near Moshav Zavdiel.
Apr 15, 1959 – A guard was killed at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel.
Apr 27, 1959 – Two hikers were shot at close range and killed near Massada.
Sept 6, 1959 – Bedouin terrorists killed a paratroop reconnaissance officer near Nitzana.
Sept 8, 1959 – Bedouins opened fire on an army bivouac in the Negev, killing an IDF officer, Captain Yair Peled.
Oct 3, 1959 – A shepherd from Kibbutz Heftziba was killed near Kibbutz Yad Hana.
Apr 26, 1960 – Terrorists killed a resident of Ashkelon south of the city.
Apr 12, 1962 – Terrorists fired on an Egged bus on the way to Eilat; one passenger was wounded.
Sept 30, 1962 – Two terrorists attacked an Egged bus on the way to Eilat. No one was wounded.
Jan 1, 1965 – Palestinian terrorists attempted to bomb the National Water Carrier. This was the first attack carried out by the PLO’s Fatah faction.
May 31, 1965 – Jordanian Legionnaires fired on the neighborhood of Musrara in Jerusalem, killing two civilians and wounding four.
June 1, 1965 – Terrorists attack a house in Kibbutz Yiftach.
July 5, 1965 – A Fatah cell planted explosives at Mitzpe Massua, near Beit Guvrin; and on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem near Kafr Battir.
Aug 26, 1965 – A waterline was sabotaged at Kibbutz Manara, in the Upper Galilee.
Sept 29, 1965 – A terrorist was killed as he attempted to attack Moshav Amatzia.
Nov 7, 1965 – A Fatah cell that infiltrated from Jordan blew up a house in Moshav Givat Yeshayahu, south of Beit Shemesh. The house was destroyed, but the inhabitants were miraculously unhurt.
Apr 25, 1966 – Explosions placed by terrorists wounded two civilians and damaged three houses in Moshav Beit Yosef, in the Beit Shean Valley.
May 16, 1966 – Two Israelis were killed when their jeep hit a terrorist landmine, north of the Sea of Galilee and south of Almagor. Tracks led into Syria.
July 13, 1966 – Two soldiers and a civilian were killed near Almagor, when their truck struck a terrorist landmine.
July 14, 1966 – Terrorists attacked a house in Kfar Yuval, in the North.
July 19, 1966 – Terrorists infiltrated into Moshav Margaliot on the northern border and planted nine explosive charges.
Oct 27, 1966 – A civilian was wounded by an explosive charge on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem.
For those readers who I hope made it to the end of this list, I want to make one last point. Mr Bronfman makes a point early in his article, writing that his father remarked that “Israel is to be a ‘light unto the nations … Israel must behave according to a higher moral and ethical code”, when arguing against settlement construction. How thoroughly offensive to thousands of Jewish men and women who cultivated the land, built homes and were instrumental in returning the Jewish People to its very cradle of existence to be told that they were somehow guilty of falling short of a higher moral code.
Mr Bronfman, what is YOUR point?