Saturday, August 18, 2012

Israeli Settler Terror: It's Official

If Netanyahu's political allies in the West Bank are committing terrorism, the U.S. may still defend Israeli security, but why is it cooperating with the Netanyahu regime?

In a major step toward an honest public evaluation of Israel, the State Department has finally recognized the existence of organized violence against Palestinian residents by the (illegal*) Israeli settlers as "terrorism."
One may sneer that the State Department was the last organization on earth to realize this, but that would be to miss the significance of the event.

Washington tightly ties its foreign policy to the Netanyahu regime despite the fact that illegal encroachment on Palestinian territory by Israelis is at the core of Netanyahu's whole approach to governing Israel. For Washington officially to recognize that the settlers Israel is supporting include terrorists shines an embarrassingly bright light on the contradiction between Washington's claim that it opposes terrorism and its alliance with Israel.

Admittedly, the State Department report went to great lengths to bury the admission, beginning the Israeli section by characterizing Israel as a "resolute counterterrorism partner," even though the characterization of behavior by political allies of Netanyahu as "terrorism" would seem to contradict that assessment. In addition, the report depicted settler terrorism as isolated acts rather than anything like a steady campaign. Moreover, Washington has yet to come to grips with the degree to which the Israeli army and police (and therefore the Netanyahu regime as well) support not just the theft of land from Palestinians for illegal Israeli settlers but also the specific acts of terror that they commit as well. Nevertheless, State's recognition that it is indeed "terror" would seem to make it only a matter of time before the issue of Tel Aviv's attitude toward that terror also surfaces, and that will in turn put further cracks in the edifice of  the U.S.-Israeli alliance...unless Tel Aviv can bring itself to crack down on the very domestic terrorists whose votes Israeli politicians so covet.
* Yes, illegal:

A report by the Israeli human rights organisation, Peace Now, listed the many ways Israeli governments have been using to confiscate Palestinian land. It stated that over the years, Israel has been using various legal and bureaucratic procedures to confiscate Palestinian land and use it for building colonies. These included “seizure for military purposes; declaration of state lands; seizure of absentee property”; and “confiscation for public needs and initial registration.” This way, “Israel has managed to take over about 50 per cent of the land in the West Bank.”...

A comprehensive report by the Israeli human rights organisation, BeitSelem, concluded that the colonisation policy created in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a regime based on discrimination “reminiscent of ... the Apartheid regime in South Africa.” [American Task Force.]

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