The JDL in the West Bank

Peaceful international activists protecting Israel? Or...

A while back a report came out describing the willingness of several pro-Israel groups in France to travel to the West Bank in order to ‘protect’ illegal Israeli settlements from Palestinians attacks. And the French chapter of the Jewish Defense League did not disappoint:

Referring to the current “mission” to Israel and the West Bank, the call for solidarity is being taken very seriously by the JDL. Cohen refused to give any personal details of his comrades in the settlements, as “it is not a show, but a serious gesture of solidarity. This is a serious trip; we’ve sent over people who are slightly older, with more experience, between the ages of 24 and 35”, including three women.

“We know the IDF doesn’t need us, but we”re going to show our solidarity. We’re going over to make sure all areas are covered, and to defend the settlements,” he said.

Pro-Palestinian activists such as Shahshahani say the call should be taken seriously. “They are publicly recruiting people with military experience, French citizens with military experience, to serve a foreign country with guns, what is this called?” he said. “We all know of people who were sent to Guantanamo, including French citizens, because of actions like these. What about the ones who aid the Israeli army?”

At the same time, Israeli settlers put up posters around the West Bank that promoted the idea of ‘Greater Israel’ (that the West Bank ‘belongs to Israel.’) Posters included violent threats agains Arabs:

Jewish settlers on Sunday hung posters displaying anti-Arab slogans on the main road between Hebron and Jerusalem, local officials said.

The mayor of al-Khader, near Bethlehem, Ramzi Salah told Ma’an that some of the slogans read: “This is the land of our fathers and grandfathers,” and “This is the land of Israel.”

The posters were displayed near settlements along route 60 between Hebron and Jerusalem, as well as near the village of Jaba and in the East Jerusalem towns of Eizariya and Abu Dis, Salah added.

Member of the local anti-wall committee in al-Khader Ahmad Salah told Ma’an that some of the posters along route 60 read “We will slaughter Arabs.” Posters were also displayed on the fence surrounding Efrat settlement south of Bethlehem, he added.

According to Ma’an, there has been a ‘surge’ in settler attacks against Palestinian civilians in the last month. Israeli settlers are now receiving weapons and training from the IDF and volunteer militias from France and, unsurprisingly, attacks against Palestinian civilians are increasing. This would obviously be less of a problem if settlers were held accountable for their actions, but the IDF allows settlers to violently attack Palestinians with impunity. Will French citizens who attack Palestinians be prosecuted? Most certainly not.

Photo from Al Jazeera

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