It is olive harvesting season in Palestine, meaning, of course, a spike in the violent attacks on innocent Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers. Be sure, the attacks on Palestinian farmers are not in response to Palestinian violence, but rather to their existence. Settlers attack Palestinians, destroy valuable olive groves, steal olives, burn mosques and generally spread terror throughout the Palestinian farming community in what has been inappropriately termed ‘price tag operations.’ The term price tag operation is only one of several terms used by the west to describe the settler terrorist attacks that are tolerated by the Israeli state.
The attacks on Palestinian civilians are not simply operations, they are terrorist attacks and should be sugar-coated by Israel, the media or anyone else in order to gloss over their true nature. Moreover, the term ‘price tag’ implies that the settlers are getting even with Palestinians for some wrong committed against Israel. Palestinians, though, are completely innocent. Indeed, settler terrorism is more prevalent during the olive harvest and after certain Israeli governmental decisions that are perceived as limiting the settler movement. Said another way, Israeli settlers are terrorizing poor Palestinian farmers in response to the actions of their own government.
Xinhua Net recently published an article about the increased level of settler terrorism entitled ‘War on Olives in the West Bank.’ The article details the story of Abdel Karim Hussain – who has permission to visit his olive grove only twice a year – and the attacks from the Alon Moreh settlement that destroyed his entire grove:
Hussein, along with others in the neighborhood, had to wait for hours and hours outside the gate of the farm. “We were attacked by the settlers who prevented us from walking to our land,” said Hussein.
“We finally ran away from the settlers and reached our land, but to our great surprise, we discovered that most of the trees were uprooted and the crops of olives were stolen by the settlers. “
Yet this is not a ‘war.’ A war implies two sides fighting each other. This is simply terrorism. It is unlawful violence against a civilian population. And it is completely normalized within the IDF. According to a Haaretz article on the topic (more appropriately entitled “One Law for Palestinian and Jewish Terrorists Alike“) points out that over 90% of settler terrorist attacks are closed without conclusion due to “insufficient evidence” or “perpetrator unknown.”
[tweetmeme] In fact, the growing pattern of Jewish terrorism has even led the conservative YNet News to comment on the immorality of the terrorists. Naturally, YNet manages to speak about the superficiality of Palestinian President Abbas and the supreme morality of the settler movement – which is oppressed by the military occupation of Judea and Samaria – in general, but it does unequivocally condemn Jewish terrorism. When YNet condemns the actions of settlers, you know it is bad.
Fortunately, I suppose, the malicious settler attacks has gained international attention. Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, strongly condemned the terror attacks and the pitiful Israeli military response:
I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians,” Serry said.
“Israel states its condemnation of attacks, which I welcome, but its record in imposing the rule of law on settlers is lamentable,” he said.
“Israel must combat violence and terror by Israelis, as is expected of the Palestinian Authority in the case of violence and terror by Palestinians,” he said.
Although Serry did not use the appropriate term of ‘terrorism,’ he did mention terror – something that was quickly rejected by Israel. Israelis, after all, are incapable of stooping to such moral lows. Attacking innocent civilians, destroying their livelihoods, desecrating their schools and holy places and stealing from them is not terrorism. The spokesman for the Foreign Ministry explains how such acts are not terrorism: ‘Hey, it’s not like we’re Arabs! They’re the bad ones!’
“We understand that he decries acts of violence by certain settlers, but the Israeli government has been the first to condemn them and to instruct law enforcement agencies to crack down on the perpetrators — but when he speaks of terror by Israelis, does he mean Israeli suicide bombers on Palestinian buses?” spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
Nice distraction Palmor. By the way, it is still terrorism.
Photo from TheWe