Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan expressed harsh criticism on Sunday evening of his fellow settlers who are ignoring violence and the “price tag” incidents of acts of destruction against Palestinians and their property as well as Jewish supporters of a more moderate line.
At an emergency meeting of the council, the settlers’ representative body, Dayan said: “Speaking honestly – how many of those of you who are here have done anything to stop the terrible and shameful phenomenon of masked Jews with a slingshot and a stone in hand? Our hands are not clean. Our hands are partners in slashing tires.”
The meeting was held in the West Bank settlement of Ofra in protest against the vandalizing last week in Beit El of a vehicle belonging to Ze’ev Hever (Zambish), the secretary general of Amana, the building arm of the Yesha Council.
The heads of local councils in the West Bank attended the meeting. Dayan voiced harsh condemnation of the violent actions identified with part of the settler population, saying: “Violence has become a matter of course in our camp.
"This is manifested in dozens of ways and we keep quiet. The main danger to Jewish settlement that exists today is not [U.S. President Barack] Obama or [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu or [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak. Our silence has come to an end today,” he added.
Har Etzion Yeshiva head Rabbi Yaakov Meidan said that “anyone who doesn’t protest is liable to be subjected to that same violence. Our sin is that we did not protest in time."
"Whoever slashed Zambish’s tires slashed my heart. There is disagreement but we must not enable verbal violence that leads to the spread of practical violence,” he added.
Hever himself said that in “recent years when I’ve been traveling along the roads of Judea and Samaria. I drive my car past the hitchhiking places and I see the anger in people’s eyes and the hatred and I drive by without stopping to avoid this difficult experience."
"It is impossible to keep silent any longer. It is necessary to purge this atmosphere. We are building the land of Israel together with the Jewish people and the government of Israel, thoughtfully and sometimes also with cunning and that is the way we will continue. No flat tires will stop us on the way up the mountain,” he added.
Samaria regional council head Gershon Masika declared that “all of us are making a clear statement here tonight. Any harm to a public figure who is devoting himself to the Jewish people and settlement – and especially harm to a personality like Zambish – is a grave and shameful act."
"What Zambish accomplishes in a day, the people who harmed him haven’t accomplished in their whole lives. Every sensible person – and it doesn’t matter what his opinions are – vehemently deplores such deeds. Without hesitations and without stammering," he added.
Masika added, however that at "the same time, I am saying here clearly and on behalf of many people: This grave attack must not be leveraged into the forcing of a controversial ideological path onto the entire public in Judea and Samaria."
"While completely condemning the phenomenon of violence, we must not silence the legitimate differences of opinion in the settlements or the need for close self-examination of the bodies that are supposed to represent the 400,000 settlers in Judea and Samaria,” he added.
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