+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

A colonial addiction: The twisted logic of the Netanyahu government

Charlton Heston has been on my mind recently.

That famous call during the NRA conference in 2000 after Columbine, “From my cold dead hands,” has been swirling around my head lately.

Why? Because it reminds me of Benjamin Netanyahu. But in my head Bibi isn’t holding a rifle. He’s holding a hammer. A builder’s hammer. To keep on building. At any price.

Heston and the NRA couldn’t care less about the lost lives of innocent people. The right to bear arms is above all. Protecting it as will continue at any cost.

When Bibi promised his coalition partners from the right wing to continue building in the settlements so they wouldn’t go ballistic after releasing over 100 Palestinian prisoners, he proved his addiction to the colonial project. The colonial project is above all. Colonizing will continue at any cost.

I have my issues with this release. I can sympathize with relatives of the victims of these attackers. But I also agree with Avi Issacharof’s analysis in the Times of Israel, who says that “… keeping these people in jail while Israel is negotiating with those who sent them to carry out terrorist attacks perpetuates a distortion of justice. These terrorists, despite the terrible acts in which they played a central part, should have been released to their homes many years ago — from the moment that Israel’s governments decided to forgive their handlers.”

Releasing prisoners with “blood on their hands” is a difficult decision to make for any Israeli leader. And the fact is, that this time it was done for simply returning to the negotiating table.

I could think of a more simple confidence building measure – freezing the settlements. But apparently, that wasn’t even on the agenda [Hebrew]. Both the Americans and the Palestinians are expecting the building to go on in the West Bank during the “peace talks.” It’s just a given.

Because for this government and its leader, nothing is more sacred than the right to build.

Not keeping roadblocks. Not removing checkpoints. Not keeping prisoners with “blood on their hands” behind bars.


Trust me, that building hammer isn’t leaving anyone’s hands soon.

Report: Netanyahu promises thousands of new housing units in West Bank, East Jerusalem

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Danny

      Building settlements is the drug of choice for the right wing. It’s their crack cocaine. They smoke it up, and it clouds their brains and makes them feel all warm and fuzzy.

      But just like a real drug addiction, this one will end very badly for them because reality will force them to either give it up cold turkey, or lose everything that was built here in the last 65 years.

      Bibi is simply a drug dealer, nothing more. He’s giving them drugs because he knows that it’s the easiest way for him to get them off his back.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Johnboy

      It’s not **just** that Issacharof’s logic is flawless.

      It is also a fact that Israel **already** agreed to the release of all these prisoners back in 1999 when it signed the Sharm El Sheikh memorandum, and for the last 14 years Israel has refused to carry out a signed and ratified agreement.

      Which rather begs a question: what’s the point of negotiating any agreement with Israel if the Israelis think nothing of reneging on deals?

      Reply to Comment
      • aristeides


        And what’s the point of the prisoner releases if Israel just throws them back behind bars. NO agreement with Israel is worth the paper it’s printed on unless backed up with force. And Israel wants any Palestinian state to lack force.

        Reply to Comment
    3. NIZ

      Danny, you forget ethnic cleansing or mass deportation to Jordan. It’s possible and the right wing thinks of it. Sometime in the future, something happens, the region in disarray, they complete the job they didn’t finish in 48… and who cares about few Arabs? They have 22 countries anyway!! no?

      Reply to Comment
    4. It’s the wrong problematic, as you indicate at the end of your article, Ami. The expression “blood on their hands” should recall to US readers the expression “waving the bloody shirt”, which became in US political argot a term for attempts to stampede political decisions by linking them to innocent deaths. The US instance is rather a perverse one, as you will see from the link, but the Israeli instance is more straightforward, at least in my view, because it reduces to the well-known dilemma of whether or not there is any such thing as an “innocent colonist”, or indeed a “civilian colonist”. The dynamic of colonialism is that it uses the “innocent, civilian” status of its colonists as bait. The function of the “innocent, civilian” colonist is to occupy the land of another, in an ostensibly “innocent, civilian” way. This can only provoke violent reprisal from the people colonised, thus triggering the reprisal: these were “innocent civilians”. And any lapse of time between the original act of colonisation and the reprisal is immaterial. Colonisation is never stabilised by a mere lapse of time. Attempts to recover conquered land (what are known as “irredentism”) are motivated by an a-historical or supra-historical passion. For the Serbs, the lost 1389 Battle of Kosovo was still a live issue 600 years later.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Richard Witty

      Unravel the argument, rather than ridicule it.

      If you want to make a change.

      The argument is twofold:
      1. This might be our last chance to build for existing families/expand.


      2. We will stick it to them Ayrabs.

      The contrasting argument in support of a moratorium is, “this is the time of opportunity to create a trusting relationship between negotiating parties. We can only succeed at this if we demonstrate that we are seeking to be good neighbors.”

      The left though has consistently called the negotiations pointless or worse, and withdrew from putting their weight into it.

      I am a board member of a progressive local not-for-profit newspaper, and we are having a financial crisis currently. In the past, we’ve relied on “the community SHOULD help”, and did nothing to make that happen.

      Now, we realize that we have to, and that we have an opportunity to actually put our weight into the effort.

      No more vanity. No more inhibition. No more excuses. Do it.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Extending settlements means either 1) refusing to later remove irrespective of negotiations; or 2) falsely encouraging hope among those who either will or might live in the expansion. In either case, the government act involves a lie.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Dave Mitchell

      Peace will not be possible with current Israeli regime & the shadow gov’t. of the US.

      Reply to Comment