Website policy


We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
_____________________

BSST

BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine
____________________

JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

_____________________

Posts

The demand for ‘security’ can never be met


Israeli soldiers guard the Har Adar settlement where a Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis and wounded a fourth before himself being shot dead, September 26, 2017. Photo by Reuters

Settler delusions of security

Israeli settlers are pressuring the government for more investment in security, but no matter how generous the ultimate outlay, it will not prevent the next wave of casualties from terrorism as long as the occupation status quo persists.

By Mazal Mualem, Al Monitor
November 07, 2017

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked into the Likud conference room at the Knesset on Nov. 6, he knew that the families of terror victims would be waiting for him there. They were the same families who had been holding a hunger strike outside his Jerusalem residence for the past two weeks. They were demanding hundreds of millions of shekels, which they claim have been promised to them, to fund the paving of roads to bypass Arab villages and to instal defensive measures at their settlements.

Netanyahu arrived prepared. He brought with him a cheque for 200 million shekels ($57 million) to increase security on West Bank roads, having discussed the issue with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. The leaders of the protest knew about this in advance, but they still refused to forgo their organized attack on Netanyahu. It was broadcast live on all the media outlets with representatives in the room.

Both sides — the settler leaders as well as Netanyahu — benefited from the highly publicized event. As far as the settlers were concerned, 200 million shekels is just a drop in the bucket. They want a security package to include the paving of bypass roads, the installation of street lights, security cameras and sophisticated fencing, and upgrades to improve cellphone infrastructure, all of which would cost a minimum of 3 billion shekels ($850 million). As far as Netanyahu was concerned, the attack on him allowed him to present a budgetary “achievement” that the right favours and perhaps even distract the public from the police investigation of two of his confidantes, attorneys David Shimron and Yitzhak Molcho, in the German submarine scandal.


Israeli soldiers stand guard blocking an entrance to the Jewish settler zone of Tel Rumeida, Hebron September 18, 2016. CNN photo.

Under normal circumstances, Netanyahu makes a point of showing up late to Likud meetings. This time, however, he arrived on time, so he could announce, “I am coming from a meeting with the finance minister, where we decided together to immediately set aside 200 million shekels to pave roads that have been agreed upon already. … In early January, we will initiate a Cabinet discussion to approve the allocation of another 600 million shekels to complete the roads and lighting.”

Despite this announcement, the families of the terror victims interrupted him. Knowing that this would happen, Netanyahu allowed them to attack him in front of the cameras as much as they wanted. He even silenced Knesset member Nava Boker when she tried to make the point over all the shouting that the protests had achieved their goal. The money had been transferred. She was right about that.

Netanyahu displayed empathy as he listened to their claims and with a stern expression listened to Adva Biton, the mother of 2-year-old Adelle, who was wounded in 2013 by a rock thrown on a West Bank highway and died from her injuries in 2015. “I buried my daughter at age four and eight months. What are you waiting for, the next disaster?” the girl’s mother cried.

Security is a bottomless pit. There is no end to the defences, wall and bypass roads to pave. No less important to personal security, however, is knowing the truth.

The settler protests over security gathered momentum last July, after the horrific attack in the settlement of Halamish. In that incident, a Palestinian infiltrated a home and murdered Yosef Salomon, his daughter Chaya and his son Elad, gathered around the table for their Sabbath meal. Salomon’s surviving daughter Racheli Menzali, having lost her father and two siblings in the attack, wrote the prime minister a letter stating, “I have a hard time understanding how the leader of the national camp will not let the most basic security needs be provided to the settlements and main roads in Judea and Samaria.”

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, some 400,000 Jews now live in the West Bank, in major settlement blocs and isolated settlements and outposts. They are exposed to terrorism on a daily basis because of their proximity to the local Palestinian population and the friction that ensues. As far as they are concerned, their demand that the right-wing government act to improve their personal security is only natural and should be taken for granted.


Policing the illegal settlement of Halamish where a Palestinian stabbed to death settler Yosef Salomon and his two children. Photo by IMEMC.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman estimates that a comprehensive plan to improve security would cost approximately 3.3 million shekels ($938,000). He made this assessment in a meeting with the settlers’ leaders, based on a plan prepared by his ministry. He then said that there was no budget for it, sending the settlers off to exert political pressure to find the money.

The settlers’ desire to prevent the next attack is little more than a pipe dream, especially as long as the diplomatic circumstances of the occupation persist or the situation intensifies. In other words, as long as the Palestinian aspiration for self-determination is alive and kicking, the West Bank will not be a safe place for Israeli citizens and soldiers. It will remain that way, even if billions of shekels from the state budget are invested in bypass roads, lighting and checkpoints. The facts speak for themselves. A way will always be found to launch the next attack.

This was the missing angle at a Nov. 1 Likud meeting that included a political discussion about the settlers’ protest. Not one major figure on the centre-left took advantage of the opportunity to raise a challenge by bringing up this point. It can be assumed that the reason is that the two major parties in that camp, Labour and Yesh Atid, are busy investing considerable resources in recruiting votes on the right.

It is worth remembering the harsh years of terrorism in the Gaza Strip, such as along the Philadelphi Route, running along the Gaza-Egypt border. From the start of the first intifada in 1987 until the 2005 disengagement, terrorism made it almost impossible for the people in the Katif settlement bloc to live a normal life. It didn’t stop even when vast sums of money were invested in sophisticated defensive measures and enormous numbers of troops deployed there.

Settler children were driven to school in armoured buses under heavy security, but the attacks did not relent. The Palestinians replaced Molotov cocktails with rifles and artillery, so Israeli soldiers were still sitting ducks. One of the reasons provided for the disengagement was security, both in terms of cost and effectiveness.

A healthy debate over how to ensure the security of settlements in the West Bank must include the contention that any investment in security, no matter how generous, will not prevent the next wave of casualties from Palestinian terrorism. This does not mean that the settlers should be left to their fate, but that is also far from the situation today. Studies and research over the past few years have shown that the budget per Israeli Jew is greater than it is per person within the Green Line. There is no transparency in this part of the budget, so it is hard to know what the sums actually cover.

Nevertheless, one thing is certain. Security is a bottomless pit. There is no end to the defences, wall and bypass roads to pave. No less important to personal security, however, is knowing the truth. None of these security measures will prevent terrorism.

Mazal Mualem is a columnist for Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse and formerly the senior political correspondent for Maariv and Haaretz. She also presents a weekly TV show covering social issues on the Knesset channel. On Twitter: @mazalm3

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.