Israel is a “spineless jellyfish” when it comes to settlers

by Yaniv Reich on November 30, 2009

Israel panders to racist, terrorizing, fundamentalist colonizers on a daily basis. This is now a commonplace notion. For example, Didi Remez of the excellent Coteret blog publishes the following translation of a column written by Yaron London, a widely respected Israeli journalist with a “reputation for saying what other [Israelis] think”.

The problem does not lie in the difficulty to locate [the settlements], but rather in the will to enforce the law on them. The will is weak. The journalistic descriptions reflect this. They report the foreseeable actions of the covert builders with full confidence that they will disobey the state. Israel’s governments have accustomed us to the sense that the rebellion of the annexers of the occupied territories is a law of nature, or perhaps a version of “cops and robbers,” in which the cops are not real police officers and the robbers no more than good boys disguised as criminal offenders. Youthful folly should not be punished, perhaps only gently reprimanded, and the policemen and soldiers will quarrel with them cautiously. Some of the buildings will be demolished, and then rebuilt, demolished, and so on and so forth, until the spineless jellyfish known as the state is worn down, and they will remain standing.

But I think the issue is even more serious than Yaron London argues: Israel not only tolerates and panders to these settler enemies of the state of Israel (and the Palestinians), it actively encourages them. The state funds the settlements, protects them with military and legal cover, defends them internationally, attempts to legitimize them at home, and uses them as an excuse to avoid peace.

To drive home just one of these points, take a look at Netanyahu’s statement, coming just days after his half-hearted “settlement freeze”, in which he not only announces continued construction (in violation even of his own definition of the already very partial moratorium on settlement contruction), but offers Israeli and American taxpayer money to “compensate” fanatics upset by even his weak and lie-ridden “freeze”:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Defense Ministry on Monday to stop preventing the construction of 25 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Keidar, as they do not fall under the cabinet’s decision to freeze construction for 10 months.
The order followed an appeal by settlers in Keidar to the prime minister’s bureau chief, Natan Eshel. The settlers said Defense Ministry supervisors plan to issue freeze orders against the said housing units.

The PM told ministers who are opposed to the construction moratorium that he would examine the possibility of compensating settlers who will suffer financially from the cabinet’s decision.

The level of insanity, with full governmental participation, is mind-blowing. Its also absolutely inexcusable.

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