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January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gush Etzion’

You Know, Mom, This is the ‘West Bank’

Monday, November 10th, 2014

I’ve been living in Israel, in Gush Etzion, in Efrat, since the end of August. I’m here because one daughter (YD) is studying in a seminary nearby (much more on that, later), and the other (OD) made Aliyah and is going into the IDF in December.

This is our chance to try a pilot project: can this particular family of upper middle class Jewish American Zionists make it in Israel? Do we have more to contribute being here, or is it important for stalwart Israel supporters to remain in the U.S., constantly correcting the myths created by the mainstream media about Israel, the shtachim, the plight of the Arabs, and all the rest.

And does Israel really need more lawyers? Or English-writing journalists? We’ll see. But for now, here I am.


Arriving at Ben Gurion. Nov. 5, 2014.

Arriving at Ben Gurion. Nov. 5, 2014.

My mother came to visit for two weeks. She arrived at Ben Gurion a few days ago. Younger Daughter (YD) and I picked her up. Yes, here I am, driving in Israel. At this point, two months in, I know how to get to the airport without looking at directions. That’s exciting.

The Judean Hills

The Judean Hills

This morning I showed my mother around the neighborhood. She thinks it is GORGEOUS. As she raved on and on (“you know, everything is flat in Florida, we have none of these gorgeous hills”), I said to her:

ME: You know, mom, this is the “West Bank.”

MOM: It’s so gorgeous…what? What are you talking about?

ME: Here. This house, this neighborhood, this whole area is what the New York Times and the rest of the planet calls the “West Bank.”

MOM: … (looks around with her eyes squinched up)…no. You mean, this is what they say should be given back?

ME: yes, that’s what ‘they’ say. And they’re also wrong about saying “given back,” as if it was intended to go to people who had control over it before.

We take a brief detour through the history of  the last few hundreds years of control of this area, beginning with the Ottoman Empire and then the British Mandate, and then the slicing up of what was promised for the Jewish State so that the different Arab families could be rewarded with their own countries, and then the refusal to accept the final Arab state if it also meant there would be a Jewish state.

And then back to this being the “West Bank.”

MOM: But how can this be the “West Bank?”

ME: You mean, because the people and the houses and the stores look just like they do everywhere else, including in Florida (where mom lives)? Mom, this is what they call a “settlement.” We’re all “settlers” here.

MOM: That’s ridiculous.

ME: It’s because the media only shows pictures of people who look crazed or violent or both. And the descriptions they connect with what they call “settlers” conjure up images of people foaming at the mouth and walking around with machetes for chopping down Arabs’ olive trees.

MOM: But this (she points around the neighborhood) isn’t what anyone thinks of when they think of the West Bank. When I hear those words, I think of makeshift ramshackle houses and people who…well, people who look nothing like the people around here. Really, this looks like the communities in Florida.

ME: Well, you should start telling all your friends. All those Jews who are proudly Jewish, but who think that the “settlements” are a problem.

Gush Etzion ‘Vehicular Terror Attack’ Apparently Was an Accident

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Yesterday’s hit and run incident that critically injured one IDF soldier and moderately wounded two others is looking more likely to have been an accident, security sources indicate.

A senior Israeli official said Thursday the incident first appeared to have been a second vehicular terror attack near the Palestinian Authority Arab town of El Aroub, a community crowded up along Highway 60. But investigators are now exploring the possibility that the suspects involved in the incident did not intend to hit their victims.

This morning (Thursday, Nov. 6) 23-year-old Hamam Jamal Badui al-Masalmeh, the driver of the van, turned himself in to the authorities, security officials said. IDF troops visited the family overnight and said they were searching for their son.

A number of people were arrested overnight, by security personnel including Masalmeh’s family members: Jamal Badui Masalmeh, Valid al-Masalma and Ismail Sabhi al-Shalash Masalmeh.

The family told the IDF that the incident was an accident, not an attack. Masalmeh’s uncle Omar told the AFP news agency that his nephew had lost control of the large commercial van that he was driving.

Members of the Combat Engineering Corps 603rd Battalion in Bet Awa, the Southern Hebron Hills region also arrested Masalmeh’s father last night at his home in Bet Awa, soon after the incident, the SAFA news agency reported. There remains a question as to whether he was an accessory to incident.

The vehicle struck the three IDF soldiers as they stood guard near an IDF “pillbox” outpost on Highway 60. The van was later found abandoned in El Aroub with damage to its hood.

Update: Arrests made in Gush Etzion Vehicular Terror Attack

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The Shabak (General Security Services) reports that an Arab from the Hebron area has been arrested in connection with the Gush Etzion vehicular terror attack. Another Arab turned himself in this morning in connection to the attack. The IDF made a number of arrests this morning of possible suspects.

The identity of the man who turned himself in is Hammam Jamal Badui al-Masalma (23) fromn Beit Awa.

Masalma turned himself in to the Etzion District Coordinating Office (DCO) after a number of his family members, including his father, were arrested. He is suspected to have been the driver or an accomplice in the terror attack.

He has been sent to interrogation.

He claims it was an accident, and not a terror attack.

Footage of Gush Etzion Terror Attack [video]

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Security footage of the Gush Etzion run-over terror attack on Nov. 5, 2014.

Gush Etzion Terror Van Found

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

The van used in the Gush Etzion terror attack has been found. The IDF is still searching for the driver.

Abbas’ UN Plan and Bibi’s Building Give Kerry Chance to Get Off the Hook

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement of big building plans for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria give President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry their golden opportunity to dump their self-defeating peace process before it makes their foreign policy look almost as pitiful as it is.

“We are not going to make peace for the Israelis and the Palestinians, Obama and Kerry have said over and over again.”

The truth is they have been lying through their teeth. They have turned almost every trick in the book to pressure Netanyahu to cave in on almost all of Abbas’ demands, but they also have done the same to Abbas to back off at least an inch.

Their typical American misunderstanding of anything east of Atlantic City and west of San Diego, make that Hawaii, never has more apparent since the war in Vietnam. The only difference is that the ungodly number of casualties of American soldiers in the war finally forced a bit of common sense in Washington, which ended the debacle in 1973. The Obama administration has stubbornly hung on to the peace process to maintain its dubious diplomatic dominance in the Middle East.

Abbas’ insistence to ditch the failed negotiations, which were a charade to disguise his eventual ultimatum, royally ticked off President Obama. But he couldn’t very well kiss off a decades-old peace process project without making Israel share the blame.

Netanyahu almost gave him enough opportunities to do so with previous building projects in areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

May of the “projects” for new homes were the same ones announced several times, each time representing a different bureaucratic process in the nightmare to build a home in Israel, but that doesn’t matter. Headlines are headlines, and the U.S. State Dept. is more interested in its own agenda of illusions than it is in facts on the ground.

The timing never was right for Obama, and the projects for homes in Jews never represented a sweeping change in the off-and-ion de fact freeze on developing Judea and Samaria for Jews.

All of that has changed. New roads, a “boardwalk” in Gush Etzion, parks and a host of other projects, whether they ever get off the ground or not, give Obama the excuse he needs to state, “We have said all along that it is up the Israeli and the Palestinians to decide if they want the peace process to succeed.”

The funny or unfunny part is that once upon a time, most Israelis and Arabs wanted the peace process to go ahead, with reasonable compromises on both sides. Thanks to Washington’s stubbornness, even the center-leftists in Israel know that there is no sense in making another agreement that simply is a basis for another war. On the Arab side, the word compromise is not in their vocabulary. That is how they lost the wars.

The American lack of understanding of the Middle East culture, and especially of the Arab mind, forced Abbas into his no-compromise stand. Previous U.S. administrations have given the Arab world so many concessions they simply whetted their insatiable appetite for more and more.

Israel, whether under Barak, Sharon, Olmert of Netanyahu, repeatedly buckled under, However, the United States never understood that you can push Israel up against the wall, and when you do, watch out.

Washington is not used to Israel saying “no,” but the threat of breaking up Jerusalem is too much even for center-left Israelis.

Given the impossibility of Abbas returning from his one-way street to the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian Authority state, and given Netanyahu’s fantastic nose for smelling a political opportunity, the timing could not have been better for him to declare “game over.”

UPDATED: Car Rams Through Gush Etzion Checkpoint, Guard Injured

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014


A silver Toyota broke threw the Gush Etzion checkpoint headed towards Jerusalem. The car hit a guard at the checkpoint and injured him.

The car then did a U-Turn back into Gush Etzion, and security forces are chasing after it. Security Forces opened fire.

It appears the car was stolen from Beitar Ilit.

Waiting for further confirmation on details.

There may have also been an event at the Hizme checkpoint, but no other information is available at this point.



A car tried to run through the Gush Etzion checkpoint near the tunnel roads.  Guards at the site put up the barriers and opened fire in order top stop the driver.

The car crashed and one person was lightly injured.

No other information is available at this time.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/breaking-car-rams-through-gush-etzion-checkpoint-shots-fired/2014/10/22/

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