Palestinian Attacks Fueled by Settler Violence, Senior Israeli Commander Says

Former West Bank division commander testifies in court against right-wing extremists.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon.
Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Right-wing violence in the West Bank is one of the causes of Palestinian terror,” a senior Israel Defense Forces officer told a court on Thursday.

“Some of the motivation of the Palestinians to carry out terror attacks is due to the violence of right-wing elements in the West Bank,” the director of the IDF operations directorate, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, said in testimony at a trial about incitement on the Hakol Hayehudi (The Jewish Voice) website.

Alon came to testify as the former commander of the Judea and Samaria Division and the head of Central Command, in a trial against Avraham Binyamin and Yehoshua Hess, who are accused of being the editors and owners of Hakol Hayehudi, based in the settlement of Yitzhar, where they publicized words of violence and incitement. The two deny the accusation.

Erasing Arabic, literally. The Hebrew word for 'revenge' spray painted over the Arabic place name on the signpost to the Yizhar settlement.Credit: Adar Cohen

Alon was brought as an expert on Jewish violence in the West Bank and its effect on the security situation in the region. In his testimony he said that incidents of Israeli violence are linked to Palestinian violence. “In my understanding there are many reasons for Palestinian violence, some of them related to the murderous behavior of the terrorists, some related to religious and nationalistic motives, and a certain part, not the main part, that is related to revenge activity due to the activity of Israelis against Palestinians,” said Alon.

Attorney Yitzhak Bam asked whether IDF violence is the reason for Palestinian violence. Alon replied that “the Palestinians, for them IDF activities in which Palestinians are hurt serve as another issue encouraging and causing terror activities. They differentiate between the activities of soldiers and those of settlers, but for them both are occupation.”

Alon said that “a significant part of Israeli violence against Palestinians stems from Palestinian violence against Israelis. Some of the incidents are revenge for terror or violence.”

Regarding criticism of him and the demonstrations against him, Alon said, “There were several attempts to demonstrate in front of my house, I don’t know where the residents were from and they didn’t influence me at all.”

He said that he did not read Hakol Hayehudi regularly, and denied that he was testifying against the site because they wrote that his wife was a member of the Machsom Watch anti-occupation group or because they called the violent incidents “the Nitzan Alon intifada.”

According to the indictment, the website posts “systematically included incitement to violence and racism against Israeli and Palestinian Arabs ... claiming that Arabs are hated, murderers, violent, wild animals, rioters, evil, brazen, terrorists, abusive, cruel, harassers, criminals, hostile and an enemy.”

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