Stop Exaggerating Settler Violence

Dec. 22 2021

Last week, Israel’s public security minister Omer Bar-Lev met with a senior U.S. diplomat in Jerusalem. According to Bar-Lev, the two discussed “settler violence” and Israel’s efforts to control it. These remarks caused some controversy within the Jewish state, especially given recent terrorist attacks on Jews. The next day Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded, without mentioning Bar-Lev by name, by commenting on the need to protect the settlers. Jonathan Tobin observes:

The question we should be asking . . . is not whether it’s true that a small percentage of residents in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have engaged in confrontations with Palestinians or that some have broken the law by committing acts of violence. It’s whether the decision on the part of activist groups and some in the media to treat these incidents as emblematic of why it is wrong for Jews to live in the territories is justified, as well as why the focus on settler violence is almost always bereft of the broader context of what is going on in the West Bank on a far more frequent basis: daily attacks on Jews by Arabs, including murder.

All of the several hundred thousand Israelis who live in what the international community considers to be “occupied territory” and, by extension, the entire Jewish population of the country is somehow held responsible for the crimes of a few. Yet at the same time an exponentially greater volume of Palestinian violence is considered either unremarkable or somehow justified. If so, then it’s clear that the subject here is not so much the conduct of the settlers as it is the delegitimization of Jews.

One of the reasons for the obsessive focus on settler violence is . . . the lower standard by which Palestinian Arabs are always judged. Though those who are angered by attacks on them claim the moral high ground, the pass they give the Arabs for their far more frequent practice of terrorism speaks to a kind of racist condescension, rather than respect or concern for their well-being.

In fact, Tobin notes, Jewish-on-Arab crime has decreased precipitously in the West Bank in the last two years—while there has been a sharp uptick in terrorist attacks by Palestinians in the past several weeks.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Naftali Bennett, Palestinian terror, Settlements, West Bank

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank