Interview with the settler
Before leaving for his 6 week vacation (that's right, 6 week! I didn't even know 6 week vacations existed anymore!), my editor begged me to look into writing an article from the Gaza settlements. Of course, seeing as how this is physically impossible, unless I tunnelled my way in, I did some research and came up with a settler I could interview by phone instead. His name is Avi Farhan; he is originally from Libya; he founded a settlement in Sinai before it was evacuated; then founded Eli Sinai ("Towards Sinai") in Gaza, and now says he wants to become a Palestinian citizen. Interested? Confused? Exactly. Read on. Here's an excerpt:
Farhan: All I want to do is remain, as a Jewish settler, in Eli Sinai in Gaza, just like Palestinians who live in the Um al-Fahem in Israel.
Me: Um al-Fahem is a Palestinian village. Eli Sinai is an illegal colony built on occupied land.
Farhan: We are a village, too. The word "settlement" is merely a lexicon - just a figure of speech. It just means settling down in one place. It's not the way the world is saying - that we conquered the territory. They made it into a negative word. Um al-Fahem is a settlement just like Eli Sinai.
Me: But Israeli settlements are racist by their very nature - only Israeli Jews can live there. Palestinians from Gaza cannot live there. On the other hand, you can live in Um al-Fahem.
Farhan: I can't even walk by Um al-Fahem - I'll get shot.
Me: Theoretically speaking…
Farhan: A few hundred metres away from me there are Arabs living here. But there still isn't enough goodwill for them to live inside the settlement. I'm sorry to see things this way, but it's not a one-sided problem. f you'd like a laugh (or are just really interested in what settlers have to say), here's my completed interview with Eli Sinai ("Towards Sinai") leader Avi Farhan, who insists he aint moving from Gaza, even if that means becoming a Palestinian citizen (of course the interview is also riddled with contradictions-he insists all this land is God-given to the Jews, including Sinai, yet goes on to say its 2005 and things have changed now -for the Palestinians):