As Mahmoud Abbas gets stiff-armed into moving upgrading negotiations with Israel to direct talks despite the Israeli announcement that the ineffectual ‘settlement freeze’ would not be extended past this September (a condition demanded by Abu Mazen), one cannot help but imagine what any peace agreement would look like. Presumably, Israel would need to evacuate some of the many illegal settlements and outposts that dot the West Bank. Certainly, Israel would be able to keep some of the larger ones – in exchange for (probably useless) land, but there would undoubtedly be outrage by the extremist settler community.
Occasionally, the IDF removes some of the more provocative settler outposts (though they typically protect settlers during illegal construction). The result is, as we have seen so many times, ‘price-tag violence‘ in which settler terrorists (yes they are terrorists) attack Palestinian civilians and destroy Palestinian property in response to the decisions of the Israeli government. The Netanyahu Administration has more or less ignored the settler violence, but the IDF has recently called for an end to the very clear acts of terrorism against innocent people.
One of the more recent settler atrocities occurred this week outside of my home of Nablus, when settlers ‘protested‘ the razing of illegal mobile homes on Palestinian land. Settlers ‘protested’ by going to the village of Burin outside of Nablus and opening fire at Palestinian homes (apparently the IDF joined them) and burning Palestinian olive trees. Moreover, the settlers reportedly tried to break through the Huwwara checkpoint (one I am far too familiar with), forcing the IDF to close the checkpoint. Driving to Ramallah yesterday, I also witnessed settlers near Burin throwing rocks at Palestinian cars on the road (my taxi needed to swerve to avoid one) – there were reports of several cars being damaged by the rocks.
[tweetmeme] I can only imagine how the IDF would have reacted if the roles were reversed; if Palestinian responded to Israel demolishing an illegal Palestinian outpost in, say, Tel Aviv by opening fire on Israeli civilians and trying to run a military checkpoint (though we unfortunately know that execution without trial is the punishment for Palestinian checkpoint mishaps). The Israeli government must stand up to the extremists that are killing innocent Palestinians and destroying their property. Acts such as this one – one to which I had a front row seat – is most certainly terrorism and must be treated as such.
Indeed, the indifference of Israel to terrorism against Palestinians only demonstrates the inherent racism that envelops the occupation of Palestine.
Photo from Desert Peace