American and Israeli newspapers are filled with stories about the ongoing settler violence in Hebron, following the Israeli government’s evacuation of the settlers from the Hebron house.
Ha’aretz reported that the IDF declares Hebron area closed military zone after settler rampage. Ha’aretz journalist Avi Issacharoff went so far as to write that the Hebron settler riots were out and out pogroms. The more conservative Jerusalem Post reports that The young men from Kiryat Arba exact their ‘price’ in the valley.
So let’s be clear. We condemn the this violence by these settlers. One cannot justify these actions against innocent Palestinians. And this is not the first time we have read about such settler violence.
So we must applaud the words of Rabbi David Saperstein, Direcctor of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (Dec. 5, 2008):
In light of the High Court ruling, we laud the Israeli government’s support of the evacuation of the contested site. The government, army and police must continue to take decisive, tough action to ensure that the saddening violence and destruction of recent days is met with the firm rule of law, bringing to justice the perpetrators of these crimes. The violent actions against Palestinian persons and property by Jewish extremists must be halted just as the violent response of Palestinians must be halted. We call upon the Israeli government to do everything within its power to ensure that all innocent civilians, regardless of nationality or religion, are protected from vigilantism. Violent attacks threaten the viability of a future based on a peaceful two-state solution to the conflict. As Shabbat falls, with the Unites States government advising citizens to avoid Jerusalem for fear of further violence, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, denounce the hatred driving these heinous acts, and reiterate our message that to honor God, one must honor every human being as being created in the image of the Divine.