That’s Lisa Goldman‘s central thesis in an opinion piece written in today’s edition of Haaretz:

For Palestinians in the West Bank, the sense of helplessness and frustration must be enormous. When they are attacked, they can almost never hope for justice within the framework of the legal system. Nor are they allowed to defend themselves. Nor can they expect the IDF to protect them. And even when they protest these injustices using nonviolent methods – marching, chanting and waving flags – they are punished with arrests and violence, with dehumanizing skunk gas and beatings. So what happens when there is no legal recourse or justice for the injured and no real civic structure, and when the moderates are systematically crushed? Surely these are the ideal psychological circumstances that make people vulnerable to the beckoning finger of extremism.

This is an important point, underscored by increasing settler violence. When mosques are vandalized and farmers are attacked with impunity, only a small step further is needed before lawlessness becomes rampant and even soldiers are attacked. This is what happened in Yitzhar just a few days ago when residents of the settlement, some say students of a Yeshiva on the settlement, attacked and injured IDF soldiers. The security forces are clearly pissed:

“The Israel Police and the Border Police will take a hard hand against the lawless rioters,” the Border Police said… The IDF is increasingly concerned that settler violence may ignite the West Bank and lead to an escalation in Palestinian terrorism. Data obtained by Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has shown in the past that settler violence leads to an increase in Palestinian attacks.

OK cool. Just enforce the rule of law across the board. Don’t come down hard on one side while giving the other a virtual free pass. That doesn’t help anyone.

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Israel won’t do this but what they should do is:

    Arrest and give long prison sentences.

    Remove all IDF security from the Jewish settlements involved and use the same personnel and forces to protect Palestinian villages nearby.

    If problems persist, shut off any infrastructure such as water and electricity to these communities.

    If that doesn’t work, evacuate the community entirely and either offer the homes to Palestinian families or raze them.

    Israel needs to come down HARD on these folks.

  • How many more times are bien-pensant liberal Jews going to be taken in by these tactics?

    The tut-tutting about an imminent – but still largely imaginary – settler insurrection has been going on since the Shabak’s provocateurs were caught staging a “swearing in” ceremony during Oslo.

    It’s getting really old. The only people who believe this shit are people with their own axes to grind about religious Jews.

    You want lawlessness – how about the widespread Pali encroachment on lands still under negotiation, and lands under Israeli control?

  • There is apparently much more to the Yitzhar story then the IDF spokesman (we do not trust) and the media has reported. One only wonders why the IDF and police spokesmen do not use the same language when talking about anarchists who they seem to tolerate every single week and do not carry out the same harassment on those areas as described in the jpost article. Fascinating.

    CK, I suggest you actually go to these places and meet the people involved.

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