Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Commando Girls Threaten Violence and Murder in Gush Katif

This is the first time I've seen quotes from settlers threatening to beat and/or kill soldiers when the soldiers come to remove Gaza residents from their homes. Nadia Matar has been affiliated with the extreme right-wing for a while but this is just goes beyond what's appropriate when protesting your government.

Instead of just posting the more extreme comments, here it is in full for all to see so that you can judge for yourself:
Times Online
July 31, 2005
‘Commando Girls’ fight Gaza pull-out
Marie Colvin

AS next month’s deadline for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza draws near, hardcore Israelis and Americans who have poured into the Jewish settlements to oppose the pull-out are making their final preparations for battle. On the front line will be a new, all-female Jewish resistance wing dubbed the “Commando Girls”.

These are not Charlie’s Angels. They wear the figure-concealing garb of religious Jews — full skirts and loose, flowing tops.

A Sunday Times informant who infiltrated their so-called “resistance headquarters” for eight days found that the members of this new group were preparing to use violence to stop the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) uprooting the Jewish settlers in Gaza.

One spoke of killing or terrorising soldiers; another of fighting to the death.

The informant also found that these radicals, mostly settlers from the West Bank and New York Jews from a wealthy Messianic sect, had inside information from government security forces.

Rachel Orbach, a 22-year-old woman who was born in Gaza’s Gush Katif settlement bloc, agreed to infiltrate the group because she believed it contradicted everything the long-term residents cared about.

Few in the settlement bloc want to leave the houses and drip-irrigation farms they have built over the decades since Israel captured Gaza from Egypt in 1967. But they vehemently reject the use of violence against the IDF. Many have sons serving in elite IDF units. The “incomers”, as Gush Katif settlers call them, have another agenda.

Orbach — whose identity has been disguised to protect her — discovered that the 40-strong Commando Girls have organised around Nadia Matar, a flamboyant settler leader who moved from her comfortable house in the West Bank to a caravan among the Gush Katif invaders.

Orbach struggled to contain her emotions as the young women, aged between 18 and 24 and almost all from the West Bank, talked of their plans.

“If any soldiers come, we will attack them,” said one, sitting on the beach at a dusk campfire. “There is no choice. We will kill them or use other terror tactics.” The speaker did not elaborate.

“I love the IDF soldiers like brothers,” said Orbach. “I won’t let any of those Commando Girls or any other gangs hurt them.”

The Commando Girls, none of whom was from Gaza, could not have been more different. Orbach said they would taunt the young Israeli soldiers guarding them, yelling: “How can you call yourself a Jew? You are not Jewish if you remove Jews from their land.”

Some say the incomers have doubled the local population of 8,000 Jewish settlers who have lived in Gush Katif for decades, amid more than 1m Palestinians. They are ferocious about what they consider a betrayal by Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister. Sharon was once the man Jewish settlers called “godfather”. He has now promised to evacuate Gaza of all Jews when Israel withdraws on August 15.

The majority of the Israeli population welcomes the withdrawal because of the huge cost in money and lives of keeping the IDF in Gaza to protect the settlers. But the incomers have vowed to resist. They have set up camp in “tent cities” and derelict buildings, many bringing their young children.

All are united by a fanatical dedication to the preservation of Eretz Israel, the biblical promised land of the Jews, which they believe includes the West Bank and Gaza.

Matar is at the forefront of the resistance to withdrawal. “We will leave Gaza only in caskets,” she said.

Her temporary home is a mess. On any given day, small children scream for attention and flies swarm over whatever food is left in the kitchen. She is well aware of the antipathy toward her and the radicals.

To demonstrate to a visitor that they really had the support of the community, she pointed to a box left outside her caravan packed with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and lettuce. “This was left for my girls by the farmers of Gush Katif,” she said.

Orbach at first found it difficult to infiltrate the group. She dressed in what she called “sport elegant style” to appear more like the conservative Commando Girls, and presented herself. She was immediately blocked at a gate in front of a sign saying “Private”.

Matar emerged and interrogated her, demanding to know where she was from and who her parents were, and delving into her motives for volunteering. She then refused Orbach entry.

Rather than leave, Orbach went down to the Kalim (Palm) beach, which was separated into male and female areas for religious reasons, and befriended some young women who were gathering sticks and boards. She entered the camp in their company.

In conversation at the nightly campfires, where the girls would strum guitars and sing plaintive songs of Eretz Israel, she came to know that the sticks were their first line of defence against Israeli soldiers. The girls told her: “We are ready to beat any Israeli soldier who comes here.”

The Commando Girls met Matar for several hours every day. Matar supplied them with food. Some cooked in a kitchen on gas burners and everyone ate communally in a dining hall.

The incomers behaved differently from the Gush Katif residents toward Palestinians. The residents have clashed with them but they also employ Palestinians. On one Sabbath, some of the more radical incomers shot at a Palestinian in a nearby village.

Israeli sources revealed that the IDF is training for all kinds of potential scenarios during the withdrawal, including the possibility that some of the Jews opposing their actions will barricade themselves in a building and threaten to commit suicide.

The Commando Girls’ original base in Gaza, the Palm Beach hotel, was raided by police on June 30. The police arrived with hammers and knocked in doors, dragging out women and even children. But the fierce resistance they expected did not materialise.

Orbach was able to reveal why — when she was with the Commando Girls, Matar passed on the information that they would be raided and all important equipment should be moved out.

Additional reporting: Aviram Zino

"Using terror tactics"?

"Beating" soldiers involved?

Killing soldiers who implement it?

I'd question whether the people even considering any or all of the above are Jewish themselves. They certainly don't seem to be following Torah laws, that's for sure. Killing isn't allowed in the Torah. Neither, for that matter, is shooting a gun on Shabbos unless it's in self-defense; something that seemed unlikely given the article's description.

Matar will leave Gaza in a casket if she chooses, has the full power to avert such a result, but cannot blame it on the IDF if it does happen. It would be a decision of her choice. Needless to say, such comments are not helpful given the already tense (for lack of a stronger term) situation.

I just hope it doesn't happen...HaShem Yirachem


Anonymous Moshe Z. Matitya said...

Are you actually so naive that you accept the contents of this silly hatchet job at face value? This article is a work of fiction. Of course, the statments you quote from the article are horribly vile and offensive -- and Nadia Matar never made any of them.

Some leftist with a grudge who wanted to smear Matar went to the Times with a fabricated story about "infiltrating the Commando Girls" -- there exists no such group, btw -- and the Times, which froths at the mouth at an opportunity to print this sort of stuff, took the bait. Why in the world should I, you, or anyone else, believe it? Even the author of the article did not claim to have witnessesed anything that she describes. She did doing nothing more than quote a wild story told by some woman who wouldn't even give her own name.

You may also be interested in knowing that the Women in Green, Matar's organization, has already informed the Times of their intention to file a libel suit against them [http://www.womeningreen.org/].

Moshe Z. Matitya

10:57 AM  

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