I notice today a story about the Israeli settlers: Israelis Claim Secret Agreement with US.

A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president’s efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office.

Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli prime minister, said this week that Bush’s letter gave the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush’s peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements across Palestinian territories on the West Bank. In an interview this week, Sharon’s chief of staff, Dov Weissglas, said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed this understanding in a secret agreement reached between Israel and the United States in the spring of 2005, just before Israel withdrew from Gaza.

U.S. officials say no such agreement exists, and in recent months Rice has publicly criticized even settlement expansion on the outskirts of Jerusalem, which Israel does not officially count as settlements. But as peace negotiations have stepped up in recent months, so has the pace of settlement construction, infuriating Palestinian officials, and Washington has taken no punitive action against Israel for its settlement efforts.

Israeli officials say they have clear guidance from Bush administration officials to continue building settlements, as long as it meets carefully negotiated criteria, even though those understandings appear to contradict U.S. policy.

Who are these people, the settlers?

The word settler has a nice, wholesome, Laura Ingalls Wilder feel to it, no? It’s a word that evokes the rugged individualism of those hardy souls who set off in covered wagons across the prairies, killing and displacing Native Americans heroically fighting off savage Indians as they set up their little towns and villages in the heartland. Oh, they were God-fearing people, our settlers, were they not? Or perhaps we think of the Pilgrims or the tragic souls who founded Jamestown, fleeing religious persecution and striking out on their holy errand to make a shining city on the hill. It’s all good, right? Who wouldn’t be proud to trace the family tree back to some quintessentially American settlers?

Settlers are by definition people who bravely go into the unknown, fighting off hostile natives as they valiantly fulfill their God-given calling to make ’something’ out of ‘nothing’.

Is that what the Israeli settlers are doing? Is that the narrative we’re being fed, subconsciously and overtly?

It’s not true. It occurs to me that good Americans might assume that they can relate to these people based on a vague historical narrative that we barely articulate. Some Israeli settlers might be lovely people. But you should know, my fellow Americans, that some of these settlers are absolutely despicable. They hate, and most disturbingly, they teach their children to hate from a very young age.

Please watch this video to see what I mean.

Do you understand? These settlers have gone into Palestinian areas and planted themselves. The spit on the Palestinians, verbally abuse them, throw rocks, even murder them, and the IDF soldiers do nothing. The settler children act like little monsters, obviously encouraged by their parents. The entire situation reeks of moral depravity. I have read that IDF soldiers consider some of the settlers pure evil — that’s how bad they are. The IDF! Not exactly a bunch of boyscouts.

Go to the main page and watch some more videos. It’s unbelievable. Watch Rt 443, night vigils, forced eviction, water shortage. This is the reality of the Occupation. This is the reality of settlements and the Occupation. This is the reality that you are not supposed to know, American Citizen, because when you understand this you must admit that this is wrong. So utterly, morally wrong. So incredibly offensive to decent people everywhere.

It’s easy to go about our lives while this outrage happens on the other side of the planet, but we need to wake up. American public opinion and American tax dollars and American leaders make this all possible. From now on when you read these sanitized stories about settlements, understand what that word really means. It’s a clever euphemism for a despicable policy, and it’s long past time to pull the plug on this bullshit.

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