We’re used to hearing them referenced as “settlers” and “hilltop youth”, but let’s be honest, there’s been a dramatic escalation of rioting, and retribution by Kahanists since the lynching of Palestinian bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramouni on Sunday night. Granted, things were already extremely tense. The subsequent Palestinian attack on worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem this morning, killing four Jewish worshipers and a police officer, and the killing of the two Palestinian attackers, has now led to riots in East Jerusalem neighborhoods that took place this evening.
And today the Kahanists attacked a school near Nablus. I call them Kahanist because of where they are from, what their leaders advocate and who they chant during celebrations, according an Israel television report.
According to numerous sources, settlers attacked the Burin High School near Nablus. Ma’an reports, “Burin is a frequent site of settler violence and Palestinian clashes with Israeli forces as it is located beside the notoriously violent Israeli settlement of Yitzhar…Over 90 percent of investigations into settler violence by Israeli police fail to lead to an indictment.” The settlers were repelled by Palestinians until the army showed up to disperse the crowd, a riot ensued, and soldiers fired teargas at Palestinians and shot and injured six.
According to Israeli News 2 TV a prominent leader of these “hilltop youths” or “La Familia” — who can be viewed chanting “still Kahane lives still Kahane lives”– is Kiryat Arba councilman and Lahava founder Benzion Gopstein, The “students of Kahane” concentrate around Gopstein and “see him as their leader,” News 2 reported last year.
Here’s what Gopstein’s Facebook page looked like til Monday. Reports are that he switched out the shot.
Ignore that noose. Is it just a coincidence he changed his image after Palestinian bus driver Yousef al-Ramouni was brutally murdered Sunday night? Israeli authorities, and mouthpieces Ron Dermer and Dore Gold on CNN, pronounced it a suicide. The same forensic logic that determined the Abu Khdeir family killed the 16-year-old child Mohammed Abu Khdeir last July. The same logic we heard in May when Blitzer aired Michael Oren claiming the 2 teens killed on Nakba day, Nadim Nuwara and Mahmoud Salameh, was a staged event and they might not even be dead. Palestinian reports say that al-Ramouni was attacked by Jewish settlers.
Here’s video of the wedding of councilman Gopstein’s daughter to one of the La Familia leaders. Click cc for subtitles.
The video was shot by News 2 TV. So how much of a leap of faith is it to assume the settlers who attacked the high school were Kahanists?
One of the people Interviewed on the video is “Itmar Ben Gvir, a lawyer that represents many here.” News 2 called him a kingpin, and Gvir explains that the people in attendance “unfortunately became the targets of the security services [who] instead of taking care of the terrorists, are picking on these righteous and pure people.” The settlers in this region are notoriously violent, the army commander ignores complaints.” News 2 said that among the participants were those suspected of carrying out price tag attacks. Complaints stack up against them and still they thrive.
It shows men dancing the “Knife Dance” after the wedding ceremony, brandishing knives while chanting biblical verses. Many of them have their faces covered. I thought of them when I read a Ma’an New report today saying that Palestinian Fadi Jalal Radwan, 22, was stabbed by a group of Israelis while walking in the Jerusalem village of Kafr Aqab today.
The groom explains the biblical song they are singing is about people wanting to take “revenge against their enemies.”
These are the mosque vandalizers. The orchard thieves. The olive tree destroyers. The land thieves and rock throwers who will not be spending years in jail for their violence and destruction. They attack people too. A settler shot and seriously injured a 16 year old boy today, I don’t know if the shooter is part of La Familia though.
Here’s Ma’an’s report on settlers attacking a Palestinian school near Nablus:
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Clashes broke out near Nablus on Tuesday after settlers attacked a Palestinian school in the village of Urif, a Palestinian official said.
Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that six Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets after Israeli forces intervened in clashes with settlers.
Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at villagers after they clashed with settlers trying to attack a local school.
The incident took place hours after a deadly attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem which killed four Israelis.
Earlier, dozens of settlers had gathered along the main road between Nablus and Yizhar settlement following news of the attack, with witnesses saying they planned to attack Palestinian farmers and cars.
An Israeli army spokesman said Palestinians “rioted” and “hurled rocks” at Israeli security forces.
And speaking of stories that the mainstream is not covering, Yusuf Hasan al-Ramouni, 32, a Palestinian husband, father, son, and brother was lynched Sunday in a bus in Mount Scopus, which adjoins Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. He lived in Al Tur (Mount of Olives neighborhood) with his wife and two young children, now fatherless. Both Al-Ramouni and his wife were raised in Abu Dis and then moved to Al Tur. Al-Ramouni was the son of a well-known tailor in Abu Dis. According to my contact from Abu Dis Friendship Association: “He was working on the bus when settlers went inside the bus and hanged him” He showed up for work and was “tortured and hung by settlers.”
Riots broke out near Abu Dis in East Jerusalem Sunday night after news spread al-Ramouni had been murdered. They have since escalated.
(Hat tip Ronnie Barkan)