by Sherri Mandell

I am the problem. I am the one. The head of the free world referred to me, personally, my family, as the reason for the unrest in the world . With a broom in my hand, trying gamely to clean up the popcorn from my son's movie party, I am the reason that there is no world peace. Obama handed me the world's destiny. He told me - 'if you stop building, stop growing, all will be right in the Middle East. Don't even think of Iran or Darfur or the honor killing of the women in your region. Your home renovation is the cause of war.'

I am a settler. If I move 8 kilometers to Jerusalem, then I cease being a settler, I suppose. But then I am an Israeli. And that too is a problem.

The peacemakers assure us that if we leave our homes, then there will be peace. And not just peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Peace in all of the Arab world. Peace in the entire world. 'That bully Ahmadinejad, don't worry about him. Sherri the settler, just leave your house with the blue windows, and the winds of peace will sweep across this world.'

Never mind that before there were settlements, there was a PLO. Never mind that the Palestinians have refused the most generous offers from the Israeli state, including 97 percent of Judea and Samaria as reported in the Washington Post on May 29th. Never mind that there is room for Arabs and Jews in the West Bank and that a Palestinian government that cannot allow Jews to dwell in its borders is a fascist state. Never mind that Israel itself has more than a million Arabs living among us. Never mind.

There is practically nobody more reviled in the world today than a settler. We are seen as gun-toting racists, extremists, parallel to the extremists on the other side. Never mind that it is exceedingly rare for a Jew to be a terrorist. Never mind that those other extremists murder Jewish children like my son Koby with their bare hands just because they are Jews. Never mind that those other extremists send their own children to commit suicide as martyrs. Never mind that those extremists kill their own people by firing squad if they are suspected of being collaborators. Never mind that those extremists oppress their women. Never mind that those extremists are intolerant of homosexuality in their communities.

But it is the settlers who are the problem.

Sherri Mandell is the mother of Koby Mandell who was killed in 2001 at the age of 13 by Palestinian Arabs who found him hiking with a friend on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The boys were beaten to death with rocks. He was a US and Israeli citizen. This article was originally published June 7, 2009 in the Jerusalem Post.

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