Those who point fingers at Jewish Settlers and cry, “Colonialists, go back where you belong!” should kick rocks. They are in desperate need of a history lesson, if they are not hopelessly anti-Semitic.
What makes the Israeli “occupation” of the “West Bank” comparison with South African Apartheid false is the fact that the true colonizers of the Holy Land were the British, beginning with their defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. When the Jews were partitioned the land in 1947 â€“ all actual colonizing stopped. Lands acquired after 1967 are no different.
Besides for what is written in the Old Testament â€“ that the Jews were divinely awarded all the land stretching to the Jordan River â€“ archeology can attest to the fact that the majority of the land’s population belonged indeed to Jews, until the Europeans came and destroyed it.
The tomb of Rachel is in Bethlehem, a stone’s throw from Jerusalem. The tomb of Joseph (partially destroyed in 2000 by Palestinians) is in Shechem, near Nablus. And Hebron is famously the resting place of the patriarchs, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah.
The irony is that the Israeli government cannot get the majority of Palestinians to recognize the Jewishness of the country (something Abbas claims actually happened during the 1993 Oslo Accords). The victory of truth would have Palestinians recognizing the right of the Jewish people to the land of the Palestinian Authority.
On May 8, 2007, Hebrew University Professor Ehud Netzer reported that he had discovered the tomb of Herod the Great, the once-king of Judea (the southernmost division of Judea), above tunnels and water pools at a flattened site halfway up the hill to the ancient town of Herodium, 7.5 miles inside the “West Bank.”
Further excavations from 2009-2010 uncovered near the tomb base a small 450-seat capacity theater with an elaborately decorated royal theater box; excavations of which are currently being continued, under the decried “Jewish Occupation.” Herod’s royal box once loomed over the “nosebleed” seats at the circa-15 B.C. private amphitheater.
“In order to attract people, there were gardens and waterworks, and the place became famous,”
Said Ehud Netzer, a professor emeritus of archeology at the Hebrew University.
“The theater indicates that the experiment worked: there was lots of life there. Hundreds, if not thousands, of guests would visit the place and there was justification to provide them with entertainment.”
Indeed Jewish life was once rich in the “West Bank.” And Arab history has never seen the likes of the annexations and genocide which caused the Jews’ expulsion between two-thousand and one-thousand years ago.
Shortly before the King’s death in 4 B.C â€“ less than ten years after its construction,
“The theater and other structures were dismantled, so that the mountain would have a clean cone shape to host his grave,”
Said Netzer, The mausoleum stood out but all the other structures were demolished.
“The moment a decision was made to dismantle the theater, it was used as housing by site managers and laborers responsible for the reconstruction workâ€¦They scrawled graffiti on the walls while they stayed there, mostly in Greek and Aramaic.”
The true magic of the excavations is the artwork on the walls of the amphitheatre.
“Our art history expert said, ‘Hang on, this is something very familiar from Italy,'”
In terms of both style and method, exclaimed Netzer.
“The technique used here was not particularly accepted in this region; it was secco rather than fresco”
That means painted on dry plaster instead of moist.
The pictures are not only Roman style but Roman made. “It was a one-time mission,” perhaps executed in advance of the visit of Roman leader, Marcus Agrippa to Judea, he said.
“The artists came, they painted, and they returned to Italy.”
Also, a synagogue dating to before the year-70 A.D., one of the oldest in the Jewish Country, found at Herodium is of the “Galilean-type,” and features stone benches built along the walls and aisles formed by columns that supported the roof.
In August, a group of Israeli and then eventually Hollywood performers â€“ actors, writers and producers â€“ declared that they would not perform at a brand new theatre of the Cultural Center in Ariel, near the University Center.
The boycott was the brain-child of one Palestinian-rights activist, Harriet Sherwood:
â€œMore than 60 have joined the protest over plans by Israelâ€˜s national theatre, the Habima, and other leading companies to stage performances in Ariel, a settlement 12 miles inside the West Bankâ€¦
â€¦Ariel, home to almost 20,000 people, was founded in 1978 deep in the West Bank. Israel wants it to remain on its side of any border resulting from peace negotiations with the Palestinians. All settlements on occupied territory are illegal under international law.â€
Prime-Minister Netanyahu complained:
â€œThe State of Israel is under an attack of delegitimization by elements in the international community. This attack includes attempts to enact economic, academic and cultural boycotts. The last thing we need at this time is to be under such an attack â€“ I mean this attempt at a boycott â€“ from within.â€
â€œI do not want to deny the right of any person, of any artist, to hold to a political opinion. He or she can express this opinion, but we, as a government, do not need to fund boycotts. We do not have to support boycotts directed at Israeli citizens in any manner whatsoever.
â€œI was pleased to hear Culture Minister Limor Livnat announce that the theaters concerned have stated that they would continue to hold their performances in the various communities as planned.â€
â€œThis is the correct approach, as opposed to the incorrect approach of pushing or trying to promote boycotts against Israeli citizens.â€
As it happens, European, Israeli and American activists have a habit of putting the muzzle on those for whom they are protesting. The following is from Ynet:
Some 11,500 students, among them 500 Arab and Druze Israelis, began the academic year Sunday at the Ariel University Center of Samaria, which is located in the West Bank, beyond the Green Line.
â€œI scored high on my psychometric exam and could have enrolled in Tel Aviv University and other institutions, but here the enrollment process was quicker. This was the first place that accepted me, so I decided to go for it,â€
Said 20-year-old Tayibe resident Manar Diuani, who is studying computer scienceâ€¦.
Joana Moussa, a 20-year-old behavioral sciences student from Abu Snan, an Arab village in the Galilee region, said politics does play a role.
â€œAll of the students in Ariel fear the day will come when theyâ€™ll be told their diploma cannot be recognized because they studied in the territories. But as of today, our diploma is recognized everywhere.
â€œI am very pleased because the professors give us personal attention and there is no racism here. Perhaps in other places people would have commented on my name or ethnicity, but here Iâ€™m accepted for who I am,â€ She said.