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Review: The Hilltop: A ‘Comic’ Zionist Lie


“To be honest, you know all Israelis are settlers, you know all of Israel is occupied Palestine and every single Israeli city is a settlement.” Israeli dissident, Miko Peled

Vacy Vlazna

 The day after the savage firebomb murder by zionist settlers of Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabshe, 18 months, and while his young parents, Saad and Reham, and 4 year old brother, little Ahmed, struggle to survive severe burns to 75% of their bodies, the pro-Israel Australian national radio broadcast an interview with Israeli  Assaf Gavron, author of The Hilltop, a novel about zionist settlers ‘made into a comedy’. Comedy?

Presenter Sarah Kanowski waxed lyrical over Gavron’s ‘valiant work’ as she meticulously sanitised 67 years of unimpeded zionist atrocities and war crimes with understated euphemisms; ‘historical context’ and ‘contentious  situation’ and with scalpeled omissions; Kanowski never referred to Palestinians. Gavrov does once when alluding to the settler stereotype that is “political, ideological, believes in God, the land of Israel and opposes the Palestinians.”

And be warned American Jews, in the name of Israel, The Hilltop reveals that Jewish National Fund settlers are exploiting and thereby opposing you..

“He didn’t like the parasitic element of it, the way the State of Israel sent emissaries to hover like vultures over human carcasses, or worse, even, over living people, waiting for them to become carcasses and then swooping down and scavenging whatever they leave behind the moment they die. There was something disturbing about the cold and calculated process by which they found candidates for death, secured their bequests, waited for their demise.”

Notwithstanding, Gavron insists that the settlers with whom he stayed in an illegal settlement near Al Quds were nice, helpful, accepting and he found fascinating “their passion, which was part of founding fathers ideas in the 40s,” for land grabbing.


Oddly, no indication was forthwith that the ‘founding fathers” were vicious Irgun and Haganah terrorists who massacred Palestinian families, who systematically emptied 500 towns and villages of 700,000 indigenous Palestinians doomed to generational lifetimes of refugee statelessness and who continue to refuse Palestinians their legal right of return though zionist doors are open to 10 million Jews world wide.


The Deir Yassin Massacre
The Deir Yassin Massacre

Despite Gavron’s denial, the book is political. It is a ‘comic’ normalisation of the zionist criminal enterprise which from page one is fixed in a fanciful biblical Jewish claim to the land of Palestine:

“In the beginning were the fields…. And so it came to pass that Othniel deferred to the vintner and went out hiking through the surrounding land…He hiked through riverbeds and ravines, and across neighboring hilltops, until he came upon a wide-open plain, which wasn’t particularly rocky, and wasn’t already occupied by the olive trees of the neighboring Arab village of Kharmish. “Here,” he said, “I will stake out my fields.”

Just like that! It’s that easy to steal Palestinian land. Othniel is the founding father of the illegal outpost on private Palestinian land on the hilltop. Outposts, 105 in total today, are the vanguard of land grabs for settlement expansion that tears Palestinians, dunam by dunam, from their ancient roots in the land.

Unlike Kanowski, I found the main characters, Gabi and Roni, unsympathetic characters who, were they real, you would agree have coffee with only if coerced at gunpoint. Roni is not a macho go-getter, but an unlikeable ex-Golani soldier, a failed financial trader, an entrepreneur worshiping money, hot to exploit Palestinian Musa Ibrahim’s olive oil and a bludger to boot.

And unlike Kanowski, I found Gabi’s conversion from violence and driven revenge to an eremitic piety nauseatingly unconvincing.


In the interview Gavron admits, that Gabi’s inherent violence reflects the impact of the occupation on Israeli society due to..

“the fact that there are generations of soldiers sent there to this  abnormal  situation where there are people who are inferior to them and they have a gun and they feel the superiority and they feel that they can do whatever they want”

The racism in Gavron’s statement surfaces throughout The Hilltop: Gazan “women in long dresses, full-bodied, pug-faced, their eyes dull and unfriendly”, “Damn animals need to be wiped off the face of the earth,” Othniel said.”, mosques are “loathsome locations”. And in the zeal of normalisation, throughout its dreary 441 pages, the only violence is Palestinian: ‘the Palestinians will also take revenge on us’, ‘protect our citizens against Arab aggression’, ‘Is Mommy dead? Did terrorists kill her?”’, ‘erect a high concrete wall to boost security for the settlements, deter enemies, and eradicate rampant and unhindered Palestinian terror’.

est Bank showing a Palestinian village (left) and a Jewish settlement
est Bank showing a Palestinian village (left) and a Jewish settlement

The core thrust of The Hilltop is the whopping hasbara ( lie) that there are good and bad settlers and they reside exclusively in the West Bank, not in Israel. Israeli dissident, Miko Peled stated unreservedly ,

“To be honest, you know all Israelis are settlers, you know all of Israel is occupied Palestine and every single Israeli city is a settlement.”

Gavron offers the reader an utopia of settler saints tainted by a minority of crazies;

Jewish extremist Meir Ettinger, who was detained following the Douma arson attack.
Jewish extremist Meir Ettinger, who was detained following the Douma arson attack.

“Tell me, are they not lunatics, burning with messianic ideological fervor, outlaws and bullies who harass the Arabs and steal land and all that?”

The sweeping “all that” that goes unmentioned is the deranged settler violence that threatens Palestinian farmers, uproots Palestinian livelihoods, olive trees and orchards, closes farmland to Palestinian owners, levels Palestinian agricultural lands, consumes two thirds of Palestinian water, dumps solid waste next to Palestinian villages, throws faeces and urine on Palestinians, vandalises Palestinian cemeteries, mosques and churches, torches cars, steals Palestinian artefacts from historic and archeological sites, damages Palestinian water and electricity infrastructure, demolishes Palestinian homes, purposely hits-and-runs over Palestinians including children, harasses schoolchildren, physically assaults children and kills a sleeping toddler with molotov cocktails.

Ali Dawabshe immolated with his parents as they slept
Ali Dawabshe immolated with his parents as they slept

Also unmentioned are the uniformed settlers who last year in Gaza slaughtered 527 children, wounded 3374 children, left 108,000 Palestinians homeless, raised unemployment to 60%. These are horrendous numbers, but the resulting horrendous suffering of Gazan families now and in the future is incalculable.

Unmentioned are the generations of settler voters who vote for successive settler governments. Unmentioned are the Knesset prime ministers and settlers that order military assaults and legislate apartheid policies against Palestinians. Unmentioned are the hundreds of thousands of settler workers in the armament industry boosting profits for Israel’s large-scale business of death set up to secure Eretz Israel.

The securing and justification of a zionist Greater Israel, from the river to the sea, explains Netanyahu’s deviant condemnation of little Ali Dawabshe’s horrific murder as ‘Jewish terror’.Michael Aydinian asks,

“So why do this? Because they want Jews to be attacked, most especially in England, Canada, France & Germany where  their Zionist puppets…are now being urged to usher in legislation…that’s an affront to our democratic rights. Cameron has  already hinted he wants to bring in laws criminalising criticism of Israel.”

By contrast The Hilltop promotes Zionism. And as such it is a moral flop. It is not funny, it has no literary merit, though its page after lacklustre page of tedious mundanity and mediocrity matches its acclaim as ‘Israel’s greatest novel’ because there is nothing of moral worth in Israel, nor in its zionist pillage of Palestine by its incessant invading hordes of fanatic Ashkenazis who certainly have the right to return to their traditional homeland- in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, Romania, Georgia and so on.


First published in Intifada Palestine  Palestine Chronicle

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters and editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of  Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

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