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Jewish settlers vow killing field

Jewish settlersby Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah

Jewish settlers indoctrinated in extremist Talmudic theology have threatened to transform the West Bank into a huge killing field.

Reacting to seemingly successful Palestinian efforts to obtain international backing for a prospective Palestinian state on territories occupied by Israel in 1967, some settler leaders warned that they would transform Palestinian population centres into another Srebrenica.

In 1995, Serb soldiers carried out a genocide in the Bosnian city where as many as 8000 men and boys were massacred in cold blood.

Settler leaders, who are effectively backed by the Israeli government and army, have made numerous statements of late threatening to slaughter Palestinians in case the United Nations recognises Palestine as a state or grants enhanced membership status to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The settlers are not making empty threats. Para-military Jewish terrorists, known as the Hilltop Youth, have embarked on a campaign of murder and terror in various parts of the West Bank, setting Palestinian olive groves on fire, torching mosques and killing innocent Palestinians.

Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, an extremist Talmudic sage, was quoted this week as calling for "collective punishment" of Palestinians. He reiterated an erstwhile incendiary Talmudic edict stating that even Gentiles' children can be killed in time  ofwar, "because there are no innocents in war."

The same rabbi endorsed a recent Hebrew book calling for murdering the "children of the enemy", especially in time of war.

In 1994, the elderly rabbi wholeheartedly embraced the massacre carried out by an American-Jewish terrorist, Baruch Goldstein, in which hundreds of Palestinian worshipers, who were praying at Ibrahimi Mosque in downtown Hebron, were killed and injured.

The rabbi praised the murderer as a great saint and hero. The same rabbi has tens of thousands of faithful followers and supporters and is believed to be feared by the Israel political establishment.

On 24 September, settlers and crack Israeli soldiers shot and murdered an unarmed Palestinian father of five children at the village of Qusra near Nablus. Eyewitnesses described the killing of Isam Badran, 37, as cold-blooded murder.

According to the head of the Qusra village council, Abdel-Azim Wadieh, marauding settlers, heavily armed, stormed the village in an effort to torch olive orchards. "But when the locals tried to defend their trees, Israeli soldiers who were looking on passively intervened promptly and started shooting on our people."

Wadieh said dozens of Israeli soldiers stormed the village at a later hour and started shooting in all directions, apparently to terrorise inhabitants. All in all, one Palestinian was murdered, seven sustained gunshot wounds ranging in severity from mild to serious, and several other people were arrested.

Two weeks ago, the main village mosque was badly damaged when Jewish terrorists set its interior on fire. The burning of mosques in the West Bank by settlers has assumed phenomenal proportions of late, with the Israeli army and government failing to arrest a single perpetrator.

Observers in the West Bank are convinced that settler terrorist gangs have "moles" and "insiders" within the Israeli occupation army throughout the occupied territories, which allows the terrorists to commit acts of terror and vandalism against Palestinians without getting caught.

In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, an Israeli settler ran over a Palestinian man who sustained a very serious injury. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers urged the Israeli army to shoot and kill Palestinians following an apparent traffic accident in which two settlers were killed on Friday, 23 September.

Settlers claimed the accident happened when stones were hurled on a car by Palestinians. The Israeli army issued conflicting reports on the accident. Palestinian sources quoted eyewitnesses as testifying that the settler car overturned as a result of high speed and that no Palestinians were in the vicinity of the accident when it occurred.

Earlier, a settler driver ran over a Palestinian child not far from the spot where the accident happened. The child, Farid Jaber, aged eight, succumbed to his injuries on Monday. Palestinian sources reported that there was a general feeling among Palestinians in the area that settlers deliberately run over Palestinian pedestrians and then report the assault as a traffic accident.

Most, if not all, settlers are indoctrinated in a virulent religious ideology that advocates the physical annihilation of non-Jews living under Jewish rule. According to this ideology, even pacified and "law-abiding" Gentiles must be enslaved as "water carriers and wood cutters" in the service of the master race.

In recent years, numerous settler leaders elucidated their fascist ideology vis-a-vis the Palestinians. They quoted "edicts" from ancient Talmudic texts that -- if applied -- would force millions of Palestinians to choose between enslavement by Jews, violent expulsion or physical extermination.

Settlers, who follow the ideology of religious Zionism, believe that the life of a non-Jew has no sanctity and that a Jew may even murder a non-Jew without the slightest compunction. Some rabbinic authorities go as far as permitting a Jew to murder a non-Jew in order to extract the victim's vital organs if the Jew needs them.

Several decades ago, the ideology of Gush Emunim, also known as Zionist Messianism, was marginal among the overall Jewish population. However, the ideology looks now to be a mainstream trend as Israeli Jewish society continues to drift towards open fascism.

A few months ago, the spiritual leader of Shas, the powerful political party and kingmaker representing Jews from Arab and Muslim states claimed during a Sabbath eve homily that the status of non-Jews in general is similar to that of beasts of burden and that the Almighty created non-Jews, including Christian supporters of Israel, solely to serve Jews.

The Palestinian Authority, which has at its disposable tens of thousands of security personnel, has failed to protect Palestinian citizens, especially in villages and hamlets located in the vicinity of settlements. Moreover, agreements and "understandings" between Israel and the PA prohibit the latter's security forces from entering Area C zones, where most of these villages are located.

One PA official recently remarked that the PA loses its raison d'être if it fails to protect its own citizens from Jewish terror, especially if the Israeli occupation army does nothing to rein in settler terrorists.

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