An Israeli man who has been volunteering as a guard to protect Palestinian farmers from attacks from right-wing Israeli settlers has been threatened by the settlers, who came to his home late Thursday night.
Yoel Marshak, head of the United Kibbutz Movement’s Special Assignments Division, is involved in guarding the fields of farmers from the West Bank village of Salem, near Nablus, who are regularly harassed by settlers from nearby Israeli settlement Elon Moreh. 450,000 Israelis live illegally in ‘settlements’ on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, and some of them engage in attacks and harassment of Palestinians when the Palestinians live in areas where settlements wish to expand.
Marshak said the right-wing activists woke up his family and threatened him and distributed flyers accusing him of "contributing to the destruction of the State of Israel and the uprooting of its Judaism."
Israeli Parliament Member Avshalom Vilan (Meretz-Yachad Party) said Friday that the suspects were members of "a new Jewish underground," and asked Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra to deal with the issue. "If you don’t give everything that happens around Skully’s Farm high priority, it is liable to end in physical violence, even within the borders of Israel," Vilan said. Skully’s Farm is a settlement outpost that Israelis have built on the outskirts of Elon Moreh, near Salem.
Meanwhile, about 30 Israeli volunteers were guarding 30 farmers from Salem who were working their olive groves Friday. Some 15 right-wing activists were also at the site, and engaged in verbal confrontations with the guards, who are all kibbutz members.
"We came to the area as farmers who come to help farmers," said Marshak. "The citizens of Israel must rise up against the violence of the extreme right."
Israeli settlements have been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice, and the settlement of civilian populations onto militarily-occupied land is in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, of which Israel is a signatory. Despite this fact, and in contravention of international law, new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has enacted a plan to unilaterally establish a border for Israel that annexes 20% of the Palestinian occupied West Bank, and surround the rest with a 30-foot high concrete Wall. The state of Israel has never established a border, and has been continually expanding since its creation in 1948.