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Occupation is the real 'Jewish terrorism'

The phrase ‘Jewish terrorism’ has come up frequently over the past week. But aren’t the daily actions of the Israeli army also terrorism? And can radical settlers be considered terrorists if they share the convictions of the state?

Relatives laid dozens of photos of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe in memorial to the slain toddler, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Relatives laid dozens of photos of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe in memorial to the slain toddler, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

I’ve recently tried to figure out the over-use of the phrase “Jewish terror” and as a good girl, I decided to Google it. According to Wikipedia, “Jewish terror” refers to terrorism carried out by Jews against Arabs since the establishment of the state, with some incidents here and there of Jews targeting other Jews.

So I asked our contemporary source of knowledge and wisdom: please teach me what was “Jewish terror before ’48.” The Zionist Google machine spit out the answer, “Palestinian terror” as the first and second entries, followed by Jewish terror dating after the establishment of the state.

You don’t argue with Wikipedia in Hebrew.

Under “Palestinian terror” were descriptions of Palestinian actions defined as terror, in contrast to the Jewish settlement movement in the time of the British mandate, at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, and thereafter. “Terror activities were principally invasions into Jewish neighborhoods and settlements, murders of their residents, ambushes of vehicles, and the burning of Jewish-owned orchards and fields.”

Surely there must be a mistake here. This is exactly what settlers have been doing to Palestinians for quite some time, under the supervision of the army, even. For years we have heard and seen and witnessed instances of ransacking and harassment, burglary of land and property, vandalism, hostility, destruction of land, uprooting of trees and abuse of employees, imprisonment of Palestinians and control over their lives, destruction of houses, paving of roads and interruption of the West Bank in every direction. How do we call this form of terror? Ah, yes, “occupation.” Suddenly it made sense: Jewish occupation / Jewish terror.

I know that we’re not going achieve peace through a discussion about who started with terrorism, and who gets to define terrorism, and whether resisting occupation is terrorism or not. Indeed, armed Jewish gangs in 1948 carried out acts against the Palestinian population that included everything mentioned above, and their war was called a “War of Independence,” not a “War of Terrorism.”

Nevertheless, I’ll save you the nitpicking of who started what for less eventful days. When we have peace here and everything is good and well, and milk and honey flow from the River Jordan, then we can start the historical debate about who started what and keep ourselves busy for days on end.

But let’s stay with the here and now. What’s strange is that when Israel’s leadership suddenly and publicly and unequivocally admitted that there is such a thing as “Jewish terrorism” last week, it felt the need to add that “there is terrorism on both sides.” And thus long lives the holy disparity between strong and weak, between armored and unarmed, between occupier and occupied. Don’t go and think that there are Jews who are evil and who have hatred in their nature, they tell us, remember that there are also Arab terrorists.

What’s surprising about the attack in Duma?

The father of Saad Dawabshah at his son's funeral. Aug. 8, 2015. Duma, West Bank. (Yotam Ronen/ Activestills.org)

The father of Saad Dawabshah at his son’s funeral. Aug. 8, 2015. Duma, West Bank. (Yotam Ronen/ Activestills.org)

I have a feeling that the horror which took place in Duma is a crime that each and every one of us knew was coming. We all read the signs, we saw it cooking in the pressure cooker that is Netanyahu’s government and his predecessors. The settlement cancer has spread, metastasizing hate as the occupation spreads in every direction, wasting all of our money in the name of the Torah and salvation — a salvation that can’t be realized without an entrenched, armored villa, overblown security and a faithful and effective child-rearing machine.

The cruelty of the terrorist attack in Duma surprised Israelis a little, but not Palestinians, for whom occupation has become routine. Eliraz Fine, an extremist settler who surely represents only herself and not the peace-loving settler public, said: “I see it as a proper and appropriate action. Deal with that truth and ask yourself: what what is the Jewish interest in acting this way?” According to Fine, “In my view, it’s very appropriate and honorable to damage Arab property.” “The defeatist approach of condemning such actions will only bring more senseless murders. To the Arabs, such actions make clear that the other is capable of unimaginable cruelty. That is exactly the way to stop and deter them.”

No matter how you approach it, we will always arrive back at the settlements, the occupation, settlers and the right-wing political camp that supports them. The settlements have one clear goal: to create facts on the ground, to once and for all bury all possible resolutions to the conflict, and to assassinate any shred of hope for peace.

The thugs who plundered Palestinian land did not act nicely, to say the least, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down their rowdiness – and not because of the Iranian threat as far as we can tell. For 20 years this enterprise has grown and has been fed by unbridled power, endless financial resources, and promise for a license to expand without restraint. The government fattened the movement with a persecution narrative, “Itbah el-Yehud” (“slaughter the Jew” in Arabic), and that the land of Eretz Israel is for the nation of Israel.

It wasn’t clear what the Israeli government’s plan was regarding the Palestinians at that time. Maybe they expected them to disappear? That the land would swallow them up? Or that the ceaseless subjugation would make them “good,” lovers of and collaborators with Israel? That they would forget their vision for a Palestinian state and would accept the situation?

Jewish terror at the pool

With this new-old conception known as  “Jewish terror” – a phrase that has stolen the spotlight of the occupation is another sad attempt to hide the sun with a piece of tattered cloth. Terror implies a radical and crazy act, or of a small group that does something disturbing, as a form of revenge or on an ideological basis. This description is not appropriate for people who are full of motivation, well armed, who declare their vision at every opportunity possible, and who essentially have the backing of the representatives and the State of Israel.

I see no difference between the soldiers who remove Palestinians from a pool in order to allow settlers to swim there comfortably, and the settlers who burn and uproot olive trees during harvest time under the supervision of the army, or the settler woman who spits and yells “whore” because she knows that there will be no price to be paid.

The “crazy ones” who murdered Muhammad Abu Khdeir, like those who torched the churches and the bilingual school, believe in their heart of hearts that this is the way to cleanse the Holy Land of its non-Jewish elements. They are one and the same with those who carried out the crime against Duma, who probably see in their actions some kind of heroism.

“The king of media” in this country probably doesn’t read the responses to the last murder: how the horror is lauded on the Internet, and how it is shown as a legitimate way to prove to the Arabs who are the cruel masters in this land. His eminence still asserts that we’re talking about a number of “wild weeds,” and a group of crazies whom we can label “Jewish terrorists.”

The only thing that might cause someone to really wake up could only occur if these “crazies” decide to act against the army, the policy, and the representatives of the so-called sanctified law. As long as they target Palestinians, though, the situation is described as “under control.”

We’ve arrived to the point at which anyone who stands in this camp must confront the reality that it has created and take into consideration all that this implies. I don’t participate in the cry for “soul searching, prayer, shedding of tears, condemnation and shock in front of the press.” This policy of political survival of – “let’s keep a low profile until the world forgets,” or, simply, to wait until an ISIL massacre distracts the public attention – simply doesn’t work anymore.

Israel doesn’t have many options. It will either take complete control and responsibility and will begin to return the land to its owners and make peace with its neighbors – or it will wait for the next Palestinian intifada. Maybe the Israeli army yearns for another round of bloodshed, but the people really don’t. Maybe the armed forces will conquer Duma and Susiya and every Palestinian backwater with the occupation machine, but no cannon or checkpoint or racist law will hide the truth and justice from the people. Then, Netanyahu will stand in front of the world and try to explain how justified that war will be, and, again, no one will believe him.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. Ben

      Samah hits the nail on the head. What is now being suddenly and self-congratulatorily (“see how ‘even-handed’ we are?”) called “Jewish terror” is different from all the routine acts of the occupying settlers and troops only in degree not kind. A dimensional difference is being misleadingly classified as a categorical difference. Moreover, it will do no good to speak of “wild weeds” that grow “at the edge of the field.” When (as Nehemia Shtrasler points out in Haaretz) settler enthusiast Israel Harel tried to downplay a previous settler outrage by talking of “wild weeds,”a real kibbutz farmer in the audience stood up and told Harel,

      “Young man, I don’t know what kind of farmer you are, but I’ve been a farmer for 50 years and I’m telling you that wild weeds don’t grow at the edge of the field, they grow next to the irrigation valve”

      Reply to Comment
    2. John Bradford

      Of course that’s right.
      Why haven’t Palestinians been pointing out sufficiently loudly for the world to hear it the obvious nature of the Israeli state for the past 60+ years by simply repeating the mantra that occupation is terrorism.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Weiss

      Spot on !

      Excellent and thought provoking article.

      Something the far right is terrified of:

      The Truth

      Reply to Comment
    4. Gustav

      “The government fattened the movement with a persecution narrative, “Itbah el-Yehud” (“slaughter the Jew” in Arabic)”

      This isn’t just a narrative. It is both a historical and present fact and yes it does matter who started the cycle of violence. Evil begets evil.

      As for the here and now? Yes I agree that a solution is needed but it needs to be based on reality.

      As I said to a frequent poster, many of us don’t like the occupation. But recent history tells us that the Palestinian Arabs refuse to agree to a peace deal which would give us confidence in a peaceful future.

      The only peace terms that even the so called Palestinian peace camp is willing to offer us would leave us with vulnerable borders, a demographic time bomb and a socio-economic disaster.

      Therefore, given the choice between the evil of occupation or the greater evil of a dubious peace deal, we have no choice but to opt for the former.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The high bullsh*t content of this is easily seen by asking: OK, it’s all about security, eh? Really? OK, you’re just pining for peace and profoundly disturbed by the occupation but “given the choice between the evil of occupation or the greater evil of a dubious peace deal, we have no choice but to opt for the former”? You have no choice? Oh, OK, very well. Then withdraw the settlements, patrol the occupied West Bank with nothing but occupation troops, which would be much easier and far less expensive if the troops do not have to protect Israeli “civilians” but only keep the natives down, oops, I meant patrol the West Bank for “terrorist activity.” Occupy it entirely on a military basis—purity of arms–nothing but troops—the same oppression if it please you, the same tactics, the same nighttime raids on innocent families, the same “making our presence felt,” the same emergency military requisitioning of TVs and living rooms for soccer game watching and rooftops for emergency picture taking for the girlfriends, the same restrictions on the local populace and the same denial of their land and their fields to them, the whole nine yards. Just no settlements. The simplicity! Think how easy this would be if you did not have to protect “civilians.” After all, why have civilians in a “closed military zone”?—that’s a dangerous place!–and now the whole West Bank could become one of those important zones. “The Official West Bank Peace-Testing Closed Military Zone.” And tell the other side, “you get the land when you do x, y, z. So that we are satisfied that you want peace. Cuz that’s all we want. Cuz we are so generous.” Then the whole world would say “See?! Those Israelis by golly they really want peace! It’s not about land theft after all! It was actually about security all along! Who’d a thunk it?! How could we have been so deluded! It was a dastardly leftist plot! Those eeeevil leftists!! Glad we exposed that!! Hallelujah!! By golly, God bless those Israelis!! I can’t wait to go out and buy products ‘Made in Israel’!!”

        Oh? . . . you don’t want to do that? Oh . . . I see . . . You want to keep the “civilian” settlers there? Oh. As I said, the high bullsh*t content of the post is readily seen.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN
          WEDNESDAY
          AUGUST 12, 2015
          BEN:”Oh, OK, very well. Then withdraw the settlements, patrol the occupied West Bank with nothing but occupation troops, which would be much easier and far less expensive if the troops do not have to protect Israeli “civilians”

          Which bit of what I said both now and before does not register with you, Ben?

          We won’t be withdrawing 500,000 settlers from their homes. It would cause major socio-economic upheavals which are unacceptable to us. Particularly in view of our experience following the unilateral withdrawal of 10,000 settlers from Gaza back in 2005. That just brought us more rockets. No thanks…

          In any case, the eventual solution will involve land swaps.

          BEN:”but only keep the natives down…”

          Please yourself, use whatever BS description which gladdens your hateful little heart, Benny. But the solution that you propose would give us more grief than the occupation. So no thanks.

          We will wait till the saintPalestinians come to their senses and agree to a variation of a deal which Ehud Barak and Ehoud Olmert proposed in 2001 and 2008 respectively. In addition, they will now have to formally recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish state.

          Otherwise, things will stay as they are, much as we don’t like that either. We would rather deal with the status quo than give up lands, only to find that the war against us would still not end but our borders would be more vulnerable and our industrial centres, our population centres and our international airport would be within the range of more modern rockets and even mortars fired by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other assorted little darlings…

          Ya don’t like our attitude Benny? Tough! You can lump it…

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “We won’t be withdrawing 500,000 settlers from their homes. It would cause major socio-economic upheavals which are unacceptable to us.”

            I knew this was coming. You broke it you own it. No one forced you to settle the West Bank. You, Netanyahu man, would be the first to tell people who took out unwise mortgages to accept responsibility. Besides, the Americans and Europeans will as usual and gladly in this case foot a huge part of the bill in your very own government bailout plan. So this excuse of yours also doesn’t wash.

            “Particularly in view of our experience following the unilateral withdrawal of 10,000 settlers from Gaza back in 2005. That just brought us more rockets.”

            Fail. I said keep the troops, withdraw the settlements. Troops not settlements prevent rockets. Settlers as “security” — nope.

            “In any case, the eventual solution will involve land swaps.”

            So withdraw every settler outside the close in blocks. Withdraw Ariel. Withdraw Ma’aleh Adumim. Withdraw Efrat. Etc. Oh? You don’t want to do that either? Of course you don’t. Because you’re not serious. “Security” is an excuse. It is as plain as day. I just proved it and it was easy because it is obvious.

            “Ya don’t like our attitude?”

            Who is “our”? There’s other people in the room with you cheering you on? Do you belong to an organization you’ve not told us about?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            GUSTAV:“We won’t be withdrawing 500,000 settlers from their homes. It would cause major socio-economic upheavals which are unacceptable to us.”

            BEN:”I knew this was coming.”

            You did, Benny? You are a regular genius.

            BEN:”You broke it you own it.”

            We alone broke it? Your Palestinian Arabs never broke anything? So they don’t need to own what THEY broke? Only we do? That is why it will not be possible to make peace in the Middle East so long as people like you are around. All people like you do is block your ears and shout at the top of your voice that everything is our fault. And you want US to listen? You people are nuts.

            BEN:”No one forced you to settle the West Bank.”

            Indeed. But if your Arabs would have sat down and negotiated a peace deal with us after the 1967, we would have agreed on borders, maybe with minor adjustments, probably to do with Jerusalem. But instead, they gave us the three NO’s of Khartoum and the war of attrition.

            Had they agreed to make peace with us instead, we would now not have to discuss the settlements.

            So, various Israeli governments, whether they were wise or not (that’s debatable) were persuaded that our security interests dictated the establishment of settlements as a buffer zone.

            So you see, Benny dear? At best, both sides broke it and therefore both sides have to own it. That means, land swaps, pragmatism and a few other things as well which I mentioned before. The idea that your Arabs just sit back and dictate peace terms to us is a non starter. It is just a wet dream of intransigent little upstarts like you. And they would do better not to allow themselves to be influenced by people of your religious … oops …I mean ideological persuasion.

            To be continued…

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”You, Netanyahu man, would be the first to tell people who took out unwise mortgages to accept responsibility.

            True. And that’s exactly what we are saying. Read my above post. Want us to withdraw from most of the West Bank? Agree to our peace terms because Your Palestinian Arabs were not just innocent little lambs who contributed nothing towards the mess that we collectively currently have.

            BEN:”Besides, the Americans and Europeans will as usual and gladly in this case foot a huge part of the bill in your very own government bailout plan. So this excuse of yours also doesn’t wash.”

            Really? I am not convinced. Nor would we expect them to. Why should they? As you say, we and the Palestinian Arabs broke it. We fix it.

            We don’t expect American and European tax payers to dig into their pockets even more than they do now.

            GUSTAV:“Particularly in view of our experience following the unilateral withdrawal of 10,000 settlers from Gaza back in 2005. That just brought us more rockets.”

            BEN:”Fail. I said keep the troops, withdraw the settlements. Troops not settlements prevent rockets. Settlers as “security” — nope.”

            Wow, what an arrogant response.

            Why exactly should we unilaterally uproot 500,000 of our people in return for nothing?

            I’ll say it again. Instead of accepting it as a good will gesture when we uprooted 10,000 settlers from Gaza, your Arabs kicked us in our proverbial behinds by unleashing thousands of rockets onto our civilians. We are not stupid. We got their message. They are not ready to make peace with us. So no more unilateral withdrawals by us, particularly since a perfectly good alternative option exists. LAND SWAPS!

            GUSTAV“In any case, the eventual solution will involve land swaps.”

            BEN:”So withdraw every settler outside the close in blocks. Withdraw Ariel. Withdraw Ma’aleh Adumim. Withdraw Efrat. Etc.”

            Whoa there Benny… Whoa… not so fast. First of all, don’t jump to conclusions about what the final borders oughta be. That is to be negotiated. They want things from us too. For instance they want a land corridor between Gaza and the West Bank. There has to be some quid pro quo…

            In any case, which bit of we will do nothing until they agree to an all encompassing peace deal which will include our requirements too, don’t you understand??!!

            To be continued…

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Love the way when someone exposes your “it’s about security” bullsh*t then all of a sudden it’s about all these other things that make the occupation you say you hate so much, and would just love to give up if it were safe, just something you can’t give up because you gotta have more more more. So FOS.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            The only thing you love Benny is your own BS.

            Read again what I said before. I said, security, socio-economic upheavals and demographic time bomb.

            The last one you didn’t even make me talk about because the last time that you tried to deny that Abbas insists on the so called Right of Return of too many Palestinian Arab descendants, I proved to you how intransigent he is on that issue.

            And right now with your last post, again you try and deflect with all sorts of obfuscations and incorrect accusations. Anything but address my points…

            Oh well, I am used to you by now. You can no longer upset me with your shiftiness and endless unfounded unsupported assertions. I will just keep on repeating myself till I get you so sick of me that …

            You finish my sentence, Benny…

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN”Oh? You don’t want to do that either? Of course you don’t. Because you’re not serious. “Security” is an excuse. It is as plain as day. I just proved it and it was easy because it is obvious.”

            Whatever, Benny… calm down… you are hysterical. I am glad you are not on their negotiating team. With you sitting opposite us, there will never be peace.

            GUSTAV:“Ya don’t like our attitude?”

            BEN:”Who is “our”? There’s other people in the room with you cheering you on? Do you belong to an organization you’ve not told us about?”

            Me? Who is talking about me? I am just one voter. And I voted for Netanyahu as did many others.

            Of course, many of us did not always vote for Netanyahu. We started voting for him only after we realized that our more moderate leaders who were prepared to compromize more, leaders like Rabin, Peres, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert were being made to look like chumps by your Palestinian Arabs.

            Reply to Comment
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