Shortly after the horrible murder of Yehuda Dimentman last week, settlers carried out pogroms. The most prominent was in the West Bank village of Qaryut. Some 20 settlers impersonated soldiers and entered the Makbal family’s home to attack Wael with clubs and pipes and his wife Samima with pepper spray. Wael is now lying in Refidiyeh Hospital. The assailants also caused considerable damage to the home and destroyed the couple’s car and tractor. Other attacks have been committed all over the West Bank. The IDF, as is its wont, was not there – although the territories are heavily covered by cameras and other detectors.
In recent years settlers have leveraged attacks against them to expand settlements and outposts. They did it this time too. Eliyahu Liebman, head of the Kiryat Arba local council, invited settlers to the establishment of a new illegal outpost. This is a sight yet unseen: A local council head publicly builds an illegal outpost within the boundaries of his municipality. Needless to say, Liebman was not arrested, and it is doubtful he will be. Experience shows that the chance is nil that those who committed the pogroms of recent days will go to trial.
Early last week the country was abuzz after Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev spoke of settler violence as an actual, ongoing phenomenon. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked condemned him. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reprimanded him and claimed that the settlers are “the security wall for all of us,” and the Samaria Regional Council is trying to pin the blame for Dimentman's murder, and others, on him.
In the past, harm to settlers was exploited to expand settlements, sometimes by refusing to bury a victim until the settlement was expanded. Now it’s being used to deny well-documented settler violence, hardly reported by the media.
The media filters the information that gets delivered to citizens. Alon Ben David of Channel 13 News said Friday night that 75 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the last round of fighting in Gaza, but he and his colleagues have refrained from reporting on it because Jewish Israeli society is not interested. The rate of Jewish acts of terror has been rising for the past two years – even by the IDF’s partial data, it has doubled in that time. If until recent years settlers attacked mostly on the outskirts of villages, in farming and herding lands, now they enter the heart of villages and break into homes. Very few are brought to justice.
- Settler violence isn't 'insignificant,' it's an add-on to Israel's institutional violence
- Despite Israel's rapid arrest of Palestinian killers, West Bank remains close to total eruption
- Why settlers are quietly happy with Israel's post-Netanyahu government
The IDF has a duty to protect Palestinians – both as an occupying force and by High Court of Justice rulings – but it is afraid to confront settlers far more than settlers fear attacking soldiers, or burning their equipment.
Settler terrorism has a strategic aim: Burn trees and fields, beat farmers doing their daily work– and the farmers will abandon the land. Why take the risk when your crops will burn anyway? And after the land is abandoned, within a few years the Civil Administration declares it state land and hands it over to the settlers. Thus, another burnt dunam and another slaughtered goat (that happens, too) and the land theft, the settlement, swells more and more.
But we mustn’t talk about that because the settlers’ collaborators in the government and media will attack anyone who says a word, and who has time for that? Between burned trees and pogroms inside homes, Israel is becoming a state of iniquity. How did the faithful city become a harlot? By standing by as blood is shed, silent and imposing silence.