Home > Diplomacy, Settler Violence > ‘Senior State Department officials meeting settler leaders in DC’ [including a convicted killer] — UPDATED

‘Senior State Department officials meeting settler leaders in DC’ [including a convicted killer] — UPDATED

This is from the Friday, November 13 2009 edition of Makor Rishon, a right-wing newspaper (original clipping after the jump.)

Pinhas WallersteinNote that one of the leaders, Pinchas Wallerstein, was convicted of killing a Palestinian teenager in 1988. The victim and another youth who survived, were both shot in the back following a 100 yard pursuit. Wallerstein later admitted that the act was not one of self-defense but of deterrence and punishment for the burning of tires on a West Bank road (Zerthal and Eldar: Lords of the Land, pp. 383-385.) More recently, he has proudly proclaimed his role as facilitator of outpost establishment and expansion. Just this week the State Department refused MK Michael Ben-Ari a US visa and yet, apparently, Wallerstein is not only allowed in, but also received at Foggy Bottom.

Settler leaders in PR battle in US against Palestinian State

Hodaya Karish-Hazoni and Hagai Segal, Makor Rishon, November 13, 2009

The prime minister’s latest diplomatic moves, including his meeting this week with Barack Obama, have caused grave concern to settler leaders in Judea and Samaria.  They talk about a “total ideological collapse,” which began with Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech and could end in a withdrawal to the 1967 borders.

In internal correspondence that reached Makor Rishon, Etzion Bloc Council Chairman Shaul Goldstein, who visited Washington this week at the time of Netanyahu’s visit there, reports that he met with Netanyahu’s aides, “and I heard great anxiety for the future of the settlements, if we do not rally and try to change direction.”  Goldstein was referring to the desperate need for a vigorous right wing PR campaign against a Palestinian state.  He is convinced that “there is a desire to listen, but there is almost no one to speak, it is all based on volunteer work.”

In other words: PR costs a great deal of money, and there is no body in the right wing that is currently able to raise it.  The large settler campaign from last year—“Judea and Samaria, every Jew’s story”—was abruptly interrupted due to a lack of budget, whereas the public that supports the settlers is still not sufficiently aware of the severity of the situation and is not mobilizing to extend financial aid.

In an emotional letter to the members of the Settlers Council, which was sent this week by Amnon Shapira of the Religious Kibbutz Movement and Professor Elisha Hess from Professors for a Strong Israel, they call to declare a USD 50 million fundraising campaign, but sources in the Settlers Council believe that it will not be possible at the moment to raise even a fifth of this amount.

Meanwhile, small-scale PR activities are being held.  Settlers Council Director General Pinhas Wallerstein recently held a meeting in Washington with senior State Department officials. Goldstein, as stated above, met this week with senior officials in the Obama administration, and consulted former senior officials in the Bush and Clinton administrations.  “You are criminals for not working on PR,” Goldstein quotes reprimands he heard there.

Here in Israel, Settlers Council Chairman Danny Dayan has been holding a series of meetings with foreign ambassadors.  Some of the meetings, such as the one with the British ambassador to Israel, were conducted at the request of the ambassadors.  “The Bar Ilan speech and the adoption of the two-state policy created a large gap between our messages and the government’s messages,” Dayan said yesterday.  “The burden of PR against a Palestinian state and in favor of settling in Judea and Samaria is on our shoulders alone, from now on.”

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