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A 'Settler's' Peace Settlement
Published on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 in the Cape Cod Times
A 'Settler's' Peace Settlement
by Sean Gonsalves
 
We went to the Efratz settlement to meet with its spokesman, Efraim Mayer. After having visited the West Bank and Gaza, we wanted to hear a Zionist viewpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Many "pro-Israeli" Americans (some of whom have angrily e-mailed me in recent weeks) would argue that any talk of Palestinian oppression is mere propaganda. So it is revealing to note that Efraim - a former Israeli Defense Force soldier and now a "hawkish," conservative, religious, Israeli settler - confirmed what we had seen - that, indeed, Palestinians are forced to "live like dogs" in the name of Israeli defense.

We didn't get a chance to ask if he thought it a contradiction to speak in terms of "defense" while at the same time acknowledging that the enemy is being forced to "live like dogs?" Let's just say he wasn't exactly encouraging us to ask probing questions. He wanted to talk, hoping - knowing - that we would go back and tell our American friends his truth.

"Efratz came from the Bible," he said. "This is our document to show all over the world that we got this land from God."

We were sitting under clear blue skies in what looked like one of those picnic areas you see at a nice public park. Kneeling on the ground a few picnic tables away was an old Palestinian man, quietly replacing bricks under one of the tables.

"The Arabs believe this land belongs to them. But in the Bible, we can find the Palestinian people as murderers - descendants of Ishmael," Efraim said.

I'm still having a difficult time trying to distinguish between his feelings about Palestinians and the "Christian" American white supremacist who points to the biblical "curse of Ham" to justify black oppression.

"We have Rabin. We have Barak. This is what we call garbage. They break the proud-ness of Israel in the last generation." These political leaders have turned their back on God, Efraim explained. "They think that in talking to a murderer you can get peace.

"Israel has only one way: to start to fight. It (doesn't make sense) to sit and talk with people when you know exactly that after the discussions, they are taking you and killing you - your children, your family, everyone in the world," he continued.

"I have two sons in the army. I tell my children - we tell our children in the schools, starting in kindergarten - to live in the fatherland you have to fight.

"We are very satisfied that Clinton isn't president anymore because we thought he brought problems here, the same thing with the father Bush - very anti-Semitic. We believe that friendship with the United States - friendship with other lands - must be on the basis that Israel belongs to the Jewish Israeli-nation. We are going to break this mindset all over the world that Israel can be split up with Palestinians."

Then he compared the formation and defense of the state of Israel as being similar to America's founding and what happened to Native Americans at the hands of the European settlers.

"Indian people in the United States are not going to ask for a piece of land. They are not going to do any intifada to pick up from the United States pieces of Los Angeles. I'm waiting for the moment when someone goes to the government of the United States and says: 'We are going to fight for a piece of land,' and then starts to take pieces of land in the capital of the United States. It will be the last time that this guy opens his mouth in the democratic land of the United States.

"Let me explain to you who are the Palestinian people - the people you are loving so much. We are talking about murder groups. Terror groups. Nothing else... . Now if you are with me we are going to (be at peace). If not, we are going to fight. Palestinian people are not a nation. Remember what I am telling you. They are a group of terrorists and guerrillas of nothing with nothing - also in the eyes of Arab nations."

Efraim told us that 55 percent of Israelis share his views. I hope he's wrong because if you follow the logical extension of Efraim's reasoning, Palestinians are not real people because they have no country and even Arab nations reject them. And a people with no land are prone to be violent, living, as they do, like dogs.

Three obvious options come to mind: 1.) Accept all Palestinians, including refugees, as equal citizens in a single bi-national democratic nation; 2.) Set up a sovereign, democratically viable Palestinian state or; 3.) exterminate the enemy.

Apparently, Efraim dismisses the first two options.

Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and syndicated columinist.

Copyright © 2001 Cape Cod Times

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