- In 'Moderate' Settlement, Signs of Extremism Rearing Head
- Study: 60K U.S. Jews Live in West Bank
- Don't Blame Americans for Settler Violence
Titled "Kibbush Kishkush" ("Occupation Baloney",) the booklet presents the settlements as a normal and integral part of Israel and says the occupation of the West Bank is a fiction; it is Judea and Samaria and it was liberated by Israeli soldiers in 1967.
Published by the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization representing the settlements, the 22-page booklet has "folksy explanations and cartoon-style illustrations," according to the New York Times. Its first print run was 10,000 copies.
“Our enemy is ignorance and lack of knowledge,” said Yigal Dilmoni, the main author of the booklet and deputy chief executive officer of the Yesha Council. “People won’t connect with a place if they don’t know it or understand it.”
The booklet, he added, would provide settler youths and others with “tools to counter the claims” of what he described as the Israeli leftist news media, politicians and organizations that have called the settlements an underlying obstacle to peace.
The Council intends to provide the booklet initially to settlements for distribution among the younger generation. When Israeli universities reopen in October, he said, copies will be distributed to the students.
Dilmoni said he hoped the booklet would help dispel what he called “stigmas” attached to the settlers.
Addressing the issue of settler violence against Palestinians, the booklet concedes that “a criminal, radical minority does at times damage Arabs’ olive trees and property,” but maintains that “the vast majority of the residents of Judea and Samaria are law-abiding citizens who respect their Arab neighbors.”
It blames what it calls the provocations of left-wing organizations for having misled the Israeli public into thinking that such violence “takes place on a daily basis.”
“This pamphlet is evidence that [the settlers], too, understand they have a problem,” said Hagit Ofran, who leads Peace Now’s settlement watch team. “For close to 50 years there has been an occupation,” and the booklet “won't change the facts,” said.