Israeli newspapers were filled this weekend with articles about how the government will respond to the recent “price tag” attacks by settlers that have gone beyond targeting Palestinians and Israeli leftwing activists, to targeting IDF soldiers and bases. In a Likud party meeting, speaking about the recent attacks, Prime Minister Netanyahu assured that such acts were not be tolerated. (According to reports, 30% of IDF forces in West Bank are now devoted entirely to dealing with “price tag” attacks). Netanyahu said in one breath that “the law is the law” and that hurting IDF soldiers is of the same severity whether it is an attack on the Ephraim Brigade or the fence in the Palestinian village of Bil’in.
Netanyahu in effect equated the physical assaults on IDF soldiers and acts of arson committed by settlers with the unarmed demonstrations that have been going on for over 6 years in the Palestinian village of Bil’in. Residents there have been protesting the fence that was built on the village’s land – the route of which was already deemed illegal in 2007 by the Supreme Court, which said it must be rerouted. The IDF and government only began to do so in part last year.
The prime minister’s Cabinet Secretary, Zvi Hauser, reiterated Netanyahu’s equation of settler violence and nonviolent anti-occupation demonstrations when he told Israel’s Channel 2 News over the weekend that there are “anarchists from the left and from the right,” and that Israel must draw a red line for these groups. He said the government will use an “iron fist” to fight the “radicals” and “anarchists” who are “criminals” that are “defaming” the country.
In a move aimed at vilifying leftwing activists, the prime minister’s Cabinet Secretary managed to not only take the spotlight off of the “price tag” attacks and mitigate their severity, but also to absolve the government of any accountability or responsibility for everything that is going on in the territory under its control.
I don’t think I need to add anything to this report – it speaks for itself.