Settlers As The Cause Of The Stabbings

The contention that settlers are the cause of the stabbing attacks prevails throughout the world and is accepted by many Israelis. According to this line of thinking, it is they who are responsible for Palestinians stabbing Israelis and their children.

This is largely true. Settlers really are the problem.

If the definition of “settler” had not been perverted into a synonym for evil and violent conqueror, perhaps more people would understand that while we might like to deny it, we are all settlers.

Our grandparents who moved here before us came and settled in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem, in Netanya, in Hebron and Beersheba etc.

Essentially, residents of Jerusalem, irrespective of geographic zones, are settlers given that the city was earmarked in 1947 for international custodianship. It was not allocated to us by the UN. Yet we settled in it after its fate was ultimately decided by war. Theoretically therefore, it is illegally occupied by settlers.

Thus, all those living in Jerusalem who brand residents of Judea and Samaria as “settlers” are in fact hypocritical settlers themselves.

It is inconvenient to apply this rule to yourselves however, because you already live in Jerusalem. You built your homes and your businesses there. Your supermarkets, restaurants, shuks and memories are there. The Kotel is there. You consider yourselves established “facts on the ground.” Like it or not though, you are settlers.

You have settled in all the aforementioned cities which have all been targeted by past and present terror attacks. This surprises you because somewhere along the way you decided that they are not settlements because you live there. Being the hypocrites that you are, you revile those other settlers who are allegedly responsible for all Israel’s woes, as different kinds of creatures – half human, half religious monsters.

The simple truth is that the term “settler” is not a dirty word. Nor is the word “Zionism” from which it bloomed. As a Zionist, I left England and I settled in Jerusalem and then I settled in Modi’in. Driving me out and “dismantling” my Jewish settlement will prove difficult because, like the residents of Judea and Samaria, I don’t live in a portable shack which can easily be dismantled. Moreover, like them, I will do all to prevent that because I live there.

Similarly, when someone shoots or stabs people in Tel Aviv in order to terrorize what they consider to be the old and new settlers out, who can be surprised at their refusal to accept it. After all they, like the residents of Judea and Samaria, live there.

The anti-settler groups in Israel seem incapable of comprehending that they themselves are generally perceived by the Palestinians and all of the terrorists as settlers. Their country, from the river or the Green Line to the sea is illegitimate. The people who stab will always be enraged by their presence. That is why they have targeted Beersheba, Hebron, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv,  Petah Tikvah, Rannana and Netanya.

When they come for you there, they are coming for you because to them you are an evil settler in their land, whether in the bank west of the Jordan or otherwise. Those naive souls who assign the blame to their own people should make no mistake. When your enemies say settler they mean you too, wherever you are.

We are all settlers and many more are arriving each year. We are no more loved by Palestinians or terrorists than Dafna Meir.

It is time that we reject this incessant defamation of settlers in Judea and Samaria and the false supposition that they are any more evil, constitute any greater a barrier to peace or are any more responsible for the stabbings than any of us. Most of them are just like us.

We have to free ourselves of this myth and have the courage to say to ourselves: “I once lived in X but I settled here in Israel. I am a settler. I am proud to be a settler. I am proud to be a Zionist.”

About the Author
Alexander Apfel holds a BA and MA in Modern History. He is an IDF reservist in the armored corps.