Bet El settlers' convictions

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Bet El settlers' convictions

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The Jewish settlement of Bet El lies between Nablus and Ramallah. It was founded ten years after the Six-Day War of 1967. Its roughly 6,000 inhabitants come from Israel, France, Russia, the USA, Argentina… even India.

Esther Shenfeld lives in a prefab housing unit. Rent on apartments here is high. She has two children and another one on the way.

She said: “Arabs, we know their planning. We know it’s not peace. It’s the opposite of peace. If they want peace, we can have peace, why do we have to give our home for peace? It’s our home and I wish my kids could grow up here”.

Moshe Rosenbaum is Bet El’s mayor and one of its pioneers.

He said: “I can understand him, Abu Mazen, that he wants to do this. But it’s a bad thing for us and also for the Palestinians because we never can agree to a Palestinian state here, because this is our small homeland. There is no place to an other state here. And if there were a Palestinian State, there will be war here all the time. Look what’s going on in Gaza Strip.”

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is of French-Polish extraction. Here is how he considered prospects for the Jews and Palestinians: “There’s no problem. They can get along as brothers. We have always extended a brotherly hand. The Arab countries have attacked us several times. We didn’t attack them. Let’s say that tomorrow we lay down our arms… in half a day the Jewish state would be completely destroyed.”

For the younger ones, who were born in Bet El, the thought of having to leave it is unimaginable.

Ayal Dan, 20, said: “ I would feel really bad. I grew up here. It’s beautiful. I just got back from Amaya Spring, nice clean water. I would feel really bad getting kicked out of our house. But it won’t happen, it won’t happen.”

Euronews correspondent Isabel Ces said: “Bet El in Hebrew means House of God. The Bible says here, Jacob raised his ladder to heaven. God is said to have promised him and his descendants all of this land. This was the justification when this Israeli village was founded in 1977.”