My settler colleague, Israel Harel, his community’s champion at rolling his eyes, playing innocent and speaking with a honeyed tongue, is once again grieving and playing the victim. In a column published here last week (“Have we become Sodom?” October 23), he complained that the reason for what he termed destructive criticism of the settlers is hatred. And indeed, Mr. Harel, this time, you’re right: Large segments of Israeli society do indeed hate. But this is not baseless hatred, not hatred for the sake of hatred, to use your words. It is hatred for your enterprise. You have earned this hatred honestly – the only honest thing about your enterprise.
Yes, there are Israelis who do not want to see their countrymen despoiling the vineyards and burning the fields of poor farmers. Yes, there are Israelis who do not want to see troops of masked settlers beating elderly shepherds with clubs. Yes, there are Israelis who do not want to see other Israelis sicking their dogs on and puncturing the tires of the soldiers who protect them. Yes, there are Israelis who are embarrassed by the fact that tens of thousands of their fellow Israelis live on privately owned lands that were robbed, stolen and extorted, both in broad daylight and under cover of darkness.