The political clout of Israel's settlers far outweighs their numbers
By Ed O'Loughlin
06/27/03: (Sydney Morning Herald) Sitting in his trailer home in the Jewish settlement outpost of Harasha, a few kilometres west of Ramallah in the West Bank, Karmi Grabovsky picks up a small black book and taps it with his finger.
"This," he says, "is the Bible. In the Bible God says Israel is for the Jews. The Palestinians are of a lower order. If we make mistakes or don't go by God's law then God gives the country to the Palestinians, like now when they [the Government] want to give our country away ... We've never learnt from the mistakes of the past."
Mr Grabovsky, a teacher, drives each working day to his primary school in the nearby settlement of Bet El along roads stalked by Palestinian snipers.
The 30-year-old is married with two children. "I decided to come here because of ... the intifada," he says. "It's for Israel. Whether it's here or there, I go where Israel needs me."
His neighbour is Joshua Wiseman, 31, a Californian who migrated to Israel 13 years ago after embracing orthodox Judaism. This week his mother, Barbara, was visiting from the United States.
"I don't really talk to him much about religion," she says, playing with a grandchild. "We are more Reform Jews in our family."
Her son now studies fulltime in a small yeshiva, or Jewish theological school, in another outpost of the settlement. He travels back and forth with a M16.
"The whole idea of the Jewish people being in this land is to bring about the redemption of the world," he explains.
"When the Jewish people are fortified and solidified and unified in their land we can continue our mission of teaching the world the basic principles of our morality and our God."
This is the creed of the religious Zionists who dominate Israel's far-right settler movement. According to their reading of the Bible, the Messiah cannot come to redeem humanity until the Biblical state of Israel is recreated between the Mediterranean and the river Jordan - some say between the Euphrates and the Nile.