Israeli state cedes violent enforcer role to settlers and right-wing gangs
Settler violence is now aimed even at IDF soldiers. It’s decision time for Israel. Raging Rick Berman in a special column following recent “price tag” attacks and hate crimes
By Rechavia “Rick” Berman, +972blog
Say, has anyone sent some flowers to Meir Bartler? According to reports, Bartler participated two nights ago in the “occupation” of some abandoned structures in the demilitarized no-man’s land, between Israel and Jordan). The object of this exercise was to declare their allegiance to the full and utmost borders of “Israel by right” – borders that include a nice-sized chunk of the Kingdom of Jordan, not to mention parts of Lebanon and Syria. Another purpose was to protest and pre-empt an evacuation of some illegal outposts. That’s outposts even Israel’s government and legal system deem illegal, as opposed to the regular internationally-illegal settlements.
Bartler, a sort of modern-day Shimon Bar-Giora (and that’s not a compliment, in case you wondered), deserves flowers along with his fellow travelers for his singular stripping of the masks official Israel strives so very hard to maintain. It displayed the timing of a Hollywood script – a mere two days after the killing (read: murder) of Mustafa in the west bank village Nabi Saleh.
As most have you already know, in addition to the bizarre and unprecedented invasion of “Jordan”, the Price Tag rioters also invaded a major IDF base in the West Bank, where they pried open the door of the vehicle in which the ranking commander was cowering from their wrath, and proceeded to pelt him with stones at close range, causing a head wound (yes, a light one. Still). They also threw at least one petrol bomb and damaged a good deal of IDF property. At the end of this daring raid, the force of several dozen managed to escape entirely intact, with not a single arrest being made and not a single shot – not even of “crowd-dispersal methods” – being discharged by the brave, brave, brave IDF defending its own base from a hostile intrusion.
On the preceding Friday, to remind you, a few soldiers sat within an armored jeep, impervious to any rocks being hurled at them and about to leave the rock throwers behind. Behind the jeep ran a local protester, not seen to be holding any rocks at that precise moment, although there is universal acknowledgement that he did throw rocks, that day and on many others. The soldiers compromised their safety by cracking the jeep’s rear door slightly open – thereby creating a small, but greater-than-nil chance of an actual stone penetrating the interior of the jeep and hitting them. A soldier stuck a gas canister rocket-propeller throw the aperture and fired directly into Mustafa Tamimi in the face. Mustafa died from his wounds the next morning.
The prevalent response by IDF defenders – even ones that claim to be in favor of some sort of peace, on some utopian tomorrow, under a blue moon when the messiah comes – was that “if you raise a stone at an IDF soldier, your asking to die. End of story.” And never mind that the IDF’s own rules of engagement forbid the direct firing of gas canisters. “The soldier didn’t – couldn’t possibly have! – seen Tamimi. It was an accident.” Well, the same IDF forbids the firing of a gas canister without using the sense of sight, which is intended to prevent precisely such an “accident”.
And lo! Two days later we learned that not only is a Jewish soul more different from that of a gentile than the gentile’s soul differs from the soul of a beast (that’s not me saying, that’s Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak the Cohen Cook, father of religious Zionism as we know it) – but the physical actions of different levels of existence differ based on who commits them. Thus, stones thrown directly at the exposed head of a base commander during a violent intrusion on the base do not merit any sort of attempt at self-defense. A stone allegedly thrown by a Palestinian justifies shooting a deadly projectile in such haste that deadly consequences do indeed ensue.
When asked about this discrepancy by Israeli Radio’s legendary military reporter, Carmella Menashe, a high-ranking IDF officer said “Well, Carmella, surely you don’t expect us to shoot at Jews?” Obviously not.
Therefore, let it be known loud and clear: In Israel, the penalty for violent offenses against the uniformed agents of the state is solely dependent on ethnicity. Violator from group A can be killed, violator from group B will most likely not been apprehended, and if so he will be released shortly.
And just in case anyone was simple enough to think that the holy warriors would be deterred by the astonished gasp caused by their attack on the very soldiers who enable their way of life, they followed it up just last night with the torching and defiling of an abandoned mosque. I guess the rabbis they take their marching orders from have green lighted the general offensive. You know what? I hope so.
In 1858, two years prior to his election as President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln positioned himself as the most forceful and eloquent speaker of the anti-slavery camp by stating that “A house divided against itself will not stand”. Lincoln told America that it had to choose. That it would eventually be all slave or all free. Likewise, Israel must choose: Swallow the territories, and resign to becoming a bi-national state (all Apartheid or all equal), or spit them out and relocate, unilaterally if need really be, to something that broadly resembles the Green Line. This stick can no longer be held at both ends.
And one other thing: The Regiment Commander and all other officers who were present and did nothing to defend their base should be removed from command. Full stop. Anything else would be confirmation that Israel and the IDF have ceded the state’s monopoly on violence to the settlers’ gangs.
Rick’s book, “Jewcy Story”, a popular history of the 2nd Temple Era, can be bought for Amazon Kindle, for cell phone or for PC here.
Right wing Israelis torch Jerusalem mosque
JERUSALEM — Right wing Israelis set fire to a mosque in Jerusalem overnight, Israeli police said.
“During the night, there was an attempt to set fire to a disused mosque in the city center,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “Police also found graffiti on the walls. The police have opened an investigation.”
Vandals sprayed the Star of David and racist graffiti including “Muhammad is a pig” and “A good Arab is a dead Arab” in Hebrew on the mosque’s walls.
They also sprayed “price tag” on the building, a term used by settlers to describe a policy to attack Palestinians and their property in retaliation for perceived anti-settler actions by the Israeli government.
The perpetrators did not manage to get into the building, which has a minaret but is currently being used as a storage facility for the city council, a municipal worker at the site said.
Israel police said they had opened an investigation into the incident, which took place just off Jaffa Street, west Jerusalem’s main shopping artery.
Some of the exterior walls were burnt and there was a strong smell of petrol, although it appeared the fire had not caught.
But the attackers also broke pipes in the building, with around 10 cm of water on the floor inside, an AFP correspondent said.
Meanwhile in the northern West Bank settlers raided Duma village south of Nablus and torched a car belonging to Razzaq Dawabsha and a water tanker truck, Palestinian security officials told Ma’an.
The settlers also tried to set fire to a bus, security officers said.
In neighboring village Yasuf, a settler set fire to a car owned by Muhammad Ibrahim Muslih, locals said. Witnesses said the settler arrived on a tractor near Zatara checkpoint shortly after midnight and torched Muslih’s car at the entrance to Yasuf.
Settlers also set fire to a car belonging to Ahmad Abdul-Aziz Eid in Kifl Haris village in the Salfit district overnight, locals told Ma’an.
Hebrew-language graffiti found in the villages bore the hallmark of a “price tag” attack, an Israeli army spokesman said, although he declined to elaborate.
The incidents came just 24 hours after a group of extremist settlers attacked an army base in the northern West Bank and sabotaged vehicles there, in an attack which was angrily denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials.
Settlers also broke into a closed military zone along the Jordanian border and staged a protest on Monday night.
For the most part, “price tag” attacks target Palestinians although there has been a growing number of attacks inside Israel in recent months following an arson at a mosque in a Bedouin village in Galilee in September, which sparked international condemnation.
Israeli officials have been quick to condemn such attacks but the perpetrators are very rarely arrested.
AFP contributed to this report.