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OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

A tale of two settlements

A village for Muslim terrorists vs. a village for Israeli Jews.

Participants in a march to the Homesh Yeshiva on April 19, 2022. Photo by Mael Benoliel.
Participants in a march to the Homesh Yeshiva on April 19, 2022. Photo by Mael Benoliel.
Daniel Greenfield

A new settlement is going up in Israel.

Architectural schematics show luxury condominiums that would not be out of place in Miami or Santa Monica, complete with balcony views, palm trees and sleek modern interiors including a fireplace, an indoor pool and a garden with a swing bench.

There’s just one catch: to live here you have to be a terrorist.

The Palestinian Authority’s latest expansion of its “Pay-to-Slay” program, which rewards terrorists for attacking Israelis and all non-Muslims, is a luxurious village with unique residency requirements. To be eligible, you need to have spent at least five years in Israeli prison.

The terrorist village is scheduled to be built near the Israeli village of Ofra, which has suffered numerous terrorist attacks, including the shooting of a pregnant woman which killed her baby.

The terror settlement isn’t just backed by the PLO’s Palestinian Authority, but also by regional groups like the Arab Fund for Development and the Islamic Development Bank, whose memberships encompass most of the region’s major Arab and Muslim nations.

The Islamic Development Bank, operating out of Saudi Arabia, has been a long-time funder of Islamic terrorism. Especially in Israel. Last week, Uzra Zeya, a Biden diplomat, met with members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to discuss “partnerships with the Islamic Development Bank.” No mention was made of its terror settlement.

However, in an ugly, undiplomatic escalation, the Biden administration summoned the Israeli ambassador to berate him over the end of an apartheid law banning Jews from returning to their homes in villages like Homesh. A Biden State Department spokesman blasted the possibility that Jews would live once again in places like Homesh as “provocative and counterproductive.”

A terror village whose residency is limited to terrorists and whose board includes the family members of top Hamas and PFLP terrorists is neither “provocative” nor “counterproductive,” but Jews returning to the ruins of their own destroyed village are dangerously provocative.

According to the Biden administration, “reducing violence is in all parties’ interests, including Israel’s. The U.S. strongly urges Israel to refrain from allowing the return of settlers to the area.” Jews living in a town causes violence, but building a village for terrorists is a pacifist enterprise.

“Advancing settlements is an obstacle to peace,” according to the Biden administration. Except when they’re Muslim terrorist settlements.

Unlike the luxury condominiums being financed by the Saudis for Muslim terrorists, the remaining Jews of Homesh live in makeshift tents. They’re not allowed to build permanent homes of any kind. Technically they’re not even allowed to stay there overnight and, under pressure from local and foreign leftists, they keep being kicked out. Yet they keep returning.

In August 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, later convicted of and imprisoned for corruption, forcibly expelled the 70 Jewish families living in the Israeli village of Homesh.

The “disengagement” coordinated with the Bush administration ethnically cleansed thousands of Jewish residents, destroyed their homes and bulldozed their synagogues under the expectation that a new era of peace would emerge when the PLO and Hamas had more territory to play with. Instead, Hamas and the PLO used their newfound gains to launch a new wave of terror.

The families expelled from their homes in Homesh returned to try and reclaim them. They raised the Israeli flag over the rubble, celebrated a wedding and conducted prayers. The Olmert government responded by cutting off food and water to them. (Had that been done to Muslim terrorists, there would have been international outrage.) Driven out, they still did not give up.

One of those who did not give up was Limor Son Har-Melech. Limor was seven months pregnant when PLO terrorists opened fire on her and her husband Shalom. Their car rolled over. Shalom died instantly. Seriously injured, the 24-year-old mother survived. So did her daughter, delivered prematurely by emergency C-section.

Limor, still carrying the scars of that attack on her face, remarried, now has 10 children and was elected to the Knesset. Eighteen years (a number symbolizing life in Judaism) after she was expelled from her home, the bill she championed to revoke the ban on Jews returning to Homesh has passed. That bill was condemned by the Biden administration.

The State Department, which did not summon PLO envoys over the numerous terrorist attacks this year which have killed one American, Elan Ganeles of Connecticut, and wounded another, Daniel Stern, a Marine veteran who despite being shot in the head managed to fight off his attacker and get his family to safety, summoned the Israeli ambassador to berate him over Homesh.

At the heart of Homesh, its collection of ragged tents, is a yeshiva: a religious school. Its students and teachers have been arrested for violating the law by studying and teaching there. The Supreme Court’s leftists recently demanded that the government explain why it has failed to permanently evict them. In response, the bill legalizing the Jewish presence in a town whose origins date back thousands of years was passed. And the Biden administration raged.

Biden’s State Department claims that allowing Jews to live in Homesh “represents a clear contradiction of undertakings the Israeli Government made to the United States” to permanently expel Jews from their homes and destroy entire villages “in order to stabilize the situation and reduce frictions.” Eighteen years later, where is the stability or the lack of friction?

Where are the assurances made by the Clinton administration to the State of Israel that giving the PLO autonomy would end terrorism? Thirty years ago, Bill Clinton claimed that the PLO had accepted “Israel’s right to exist in peace and security” and committed “to renounce terrorism.”

The PLO’s idea of renouncing terrorism is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year funding terrorism through Pay-to-Slay: including building a village just for terrorists. And the Biden administration has violated not only its commitments, but U.S. law, by continuing to fund the terrorists while failing to even offer the least objection to the terror village.

After the murder of Taylor Force, an Afghan war veteran studying in Israel, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, barring further foreign aid to the terrorists. The Biden administration has flagrantly violated the Taylor Force Act by sending over $1 billion to the terrorist-occupied areas.

Biden’s decision to fund the terrorists has led to a 900% increase in Israeli deaths.

Perhaps the Biden administration would consider “reducing friction” by ending its illegal funding of terrorism instead of by demanding that Israel ethnically cleanse Jews from parts of Israel.

The “tale of two settlements” shows the bias and double standard of the Biden administration.

Given a choice between a terrorist village and a Jewish one, the Biden administration chose to condemn the Jewish village while continuing to fund the terrorists. Politicians and the media are outraged over Homesh, but carefully avoid talking about the jihad village.

Meanwhile, the Jews camped out in Homesh continue to live in tents, they dodge checkpoints and risk their lives walking circuitous routes to reach the high ground where the village once stood, and where they are determined it will stand again. While the Muslim terrorists will settle down in luxury condominiums, swimming laps in an indoor pool and enjoying the fruits of their murderous labors, the unsung heroes will go on risking their lives by defying them.

And defying their enablers in the Biden administration.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

This is an edited version of an article first published by FrontPage Magazine.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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