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Israel admits right-wing violence works

The highest court in the land delays the demolition of a synagogue built atop stolen Palestinian property, fearing retribution by right-wing extremists. Has terrorism officially won in Israel?

A man examines the burnt house of the Dawabsha family during the funeral procession of Saad Dawabsha, in the West Bank village of Duma, August 8, 2015. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

A man examines the remains of the Dawabsha family home during the funeral procession of Sa’ad Dawabsha, in the West Bank village of Duma, August 8, 2015. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The State of Israel just validated the very concept of “price tag” violence, which Israel officials have often described — but never legally defined — as terrorism.

The state on Tuesday asked the High Court of Justice to delay the court ordered demolition of a West Bank synagogue built on stolen Palestinian land. The state’s main argument in asking for the extension, which the court begrudgingly granted, went as follows: “Police believe that demolishing the building is likely to lead to violent acts by extremist right-wing actors against Arabs and Muslim religious symbols.” (Hebrew)

In other words: we do not want to enforce the law because we are afraid the criminals will punish us for it. Or, in even clearer and scarier words: we have accepted that terrorists will make us pay a price for carrying out pre-declared, court-ordered, and government sanctioned duties.

There is no singular definition of terrorism, but most include a few basic concepts: the use of violence against non-military targets to influence a government or society in order to advance political aims.

What happened in the settlement of Givat Ze’ev this morning? A group of people openly declared their readiness to use violence in order to resist the demolition of a building built on stolen land, and convinced the police and the government of the State of Israel to declare that they are too scared to enforce the law.

An affidavit from the highest echelons of Israel’s police force warned that the fallout from the extremist right wingers is “likely to spread beyond the borders of Givat Ze’ev, where the synagogue is located, into the territory of the West Bank and the rest of the country, significantly harming security and public order.”

Is that it? Has terrorism won?

Of course not — it’s just that it’s effective. Horrendous, contemptible and an affront to humanity. But effective.

Poll: Most Jewish Israelis think Arab citizens support terror

Violence may not always be the deciding factor, but it has served the settler movement well. The Park Hotel takeover in Hebron on Passover of 1968 led to the establishment of the first Jewish settlement inside a Palestinian city. The Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994 led to the complete takeover and segregation of the central market area of the same city. Varied combinations of civilian and uniformed violence have been used across the West Bank to systematically steal Palestinian land and intimidate its rightful owners.

And as seen in this case, “price tag” attacks have succeeded at making already hesitant state bodies even warier of implementing court or military orders that run the risk of angering the settler movement.

The success of the price tag movement and violent settlers in general, however, also exposes the legal apartheid, discrimination and dual standards enjoyed by Jewish and non-Jewish movements that use violence to advance political aims against the wishes of the state.

If a group of Palestinians had publicly declared that they were willing to die and threatened to use explosives (gas canisters) in a confrontation with Israeli security forces, they would probably not come out alive and if they did, they would be tried in military courts, put into administrative detention or sent into exile.

When it comes to Jews doing the same, there is a long tradition of precedent for getting away with such threats and violent reprisals scot-free. In the early 1980s, in the final days of Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, members of Meir Kahane’s Kach terrorist group barricaded themselves inside the settlement’s synagogue, booby trapped it with gas canisters and said they would rather die than give up the land. They were not killed. They were not prosecuted.

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    1. Average American

      Wait a minute. Uncontrolled settler violence, to the point of disrupting government, is not called Terrorism? What a double standard. Also, is this term “settler” supposed to create a vision of a wilderness, an open frontier, campfires and hunting, like in the Old West of USA? What a load. Further, settlers and government are two arms of the same objective, the one Israel was founded on, which is for Jews to lebensraum into all of The Land Of Israel, no matter who is already there, no matter what borders they might eventually unilaterally decide to be The Land Of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      “If a group of Palestinians had publicly declared that they were willing to die and threatened to use explosives (gas canisters) in a confrontation with Israeli security forces, they would probably not come out alive and if they did, they would be tried in military courts, put into administrative detention or sent into exile. When it comes to Jews doing the same, there is a long tradition of precedent for getting away with such threats and violent reprisals scot-free.”

      That’s apartheid.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Yes Benny dear because only Jews treat their enemies, those who go around randomly murdering Jews differently.

        Other people, non Jews, treat their enemies, those who go about murdering them randomly, the same way as they treat their own citizens.

        You know that isn’t true. So everybody who is at war with anyone can be accused of apartheid because they apply different treatment to their own? LOL.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          LoL. I’m trying to imagine some American civilian contractors working for the US Army on Iraq or Afghanistan, or wherever, staging a rebellion and saying they were willing to die and threatening to use explosives (gas canisters) in a confrontation with American security forces, and getting away with such threats and violent reprisals scot-free. Hahahahahahahahaha.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Are you saying that Americans treat their own citizens the same way as they treat those with whom they are at war?

            If you are, then again you are lying, Benny. I don’t recall Americans putting their own citizens into Gittmo. And if you wan’t, I can give you other examples too where they treat their own citizens more leniently than they treat members of their enemies.

            Now, Benny, are you still laughing? Are you also saying that your country practices apartheid?

            Gaaawd, you are a fool, Benny darling…

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            **chuckle* Scot-free! Every time! You’re so full of it! What a hoot!

            Let’s catch up with the Henkin and Dawabshe family murderers, shall we?

            Days it took to identify and arrest the Henkin family murderers: 3, at most

            Days the murderers of the Dawabshe family by firebombing remain still at large: 99*

            *And, this, according to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, is because although the security forces know who was responsible, Israel does not want to bring them to justice so as “to avoid exposing intelligence sources.” Yep, you read that right.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Thats the best you can come up with?

            Shall we talk about the number of unsolved, cold case murder cases which exist elsewhere in the world?

            Oh and let’s talk about what Palestinian Arabs do with their terrorists who murder Jewish Israeli children.

            ANSWER: they demand the murderers release. Are your Palestinian Arabs advocates of Apartheid? They certainly don’t release murderers of their own children, Benny dear!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “cold case” LoL!

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yea LOL.

            You have no comment about how your daaarlink Palestinian Arabs extort the release of child murdering terrorists but they don’t release their own criminals who murder Arab children?

            By your definition that is apartheid too, Benny dear. They treat their OWN differently than they treat others.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Eliza

      The author of this article answers in the negative to the question posed – ‘Has terrorism won?’

      But of course, Jewish terrorism is winning. It doesn’t take this recent Court decision to come to that conclusion. Slowly but surely, Israel is taking W/B land by way of illegal settlements and outposts. There is no reversal of this process.

      We are all quick with the mantra and violence solves nothing. But we see that violence does sometimes work. It might be politically incorrect, but I don’t think that we can pretend anymore that its not a horses for courses thing. Sometimes violence does win. Doesn’t win all the time but settler violence actually is winning. Why ever pretend that its not.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      Peter Beinart in a recent speech:

      “while we condemn Palestinian violence, we must recognize this painful truth: that Israeli policy has encouraged it. Israel has encouraged it by penalizing Palestinian nonviolence, by responding to that nonviolence by deportations, teargas, imprisonment, and the confiscation of Palestinian lands. Hard as it is to say, the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed.”

      Beinart spoke of Israel’s “moral darkness,” and of its awful treatment of these people: Mubarak Awad, whose story +972 covered last week; Abdullah Abu Rahme of the occupied village of Bil’in; and former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, who Israel treated contemptuously even as he was offering himself as an economic partner to Israel in the West Bank, all the while Israel expanded settlements rapaciously. (The same Israel that says that it wants peace and longs for a partner.)

      Phillip Weiss’s comments, in turn, on liberal Zionist Beinart are worth your while also. Read about it here:


      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        It is exactly the other way around. It is the Palestinian Arabs who never reciprocated Israeli concessions and who responded to very painful Israeli concessions with violence. For instance…

        1. Oslo

        2. Ehud Barak’s peace offer

        3. Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal.

        4. EhudvOlmert’s peace offer.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          As Eliza correctly pointed out, this article is about Jewish terror and its effectiveness and how settler violence is winning.

          We have covered items 1-4 of yours so many times here and, I believe, refuted them thoroughly–these dead horses shall not be rebeaten here–so the point you are trying to make about so-called “concessions” has no legs to stand on.

          Israel penalizes nonviolence. It does this in an organized, concerted, sustained and “effective” way for long periods of time.
          And then it acts shocked and aggrieved when violence ensues. As Beinart says, by that it reaps what it sows.

          And beyond that, as Phil Weiss says, for someone who gets it about how Israel penalizes nonviolence, Beinart himself has his own curious American liberal Zionist blind spots regarding boycott, and about one democratic state.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav


            Of course Benny is not flogging his dead horse which has been thoroughly been debunked many times over before. Not much…

            But being Benny has special priviliges or so he thinks. So he puts on a brave front, has a stiff upper lip and keeps on pretending that he has not been thoroughly trounced in this debate. LOL.

            In a nutshell…

            First there was Palestinian Arab violence. Which begot the occupation, which then gives them the excuse for more violence (or so they think) instead of making peace so that the occupation could end.

            Reply to Comment