Friday, 30 April 2010

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Settler Violence at Yitzhar

Settler Violence at Yitzhar

If you've been reading this blog for at least the past day you'll be aware of my skepticism about the radical-left thesis that Israeli democracy is disintegrating, all because a majority of Israelis dislikes the radical left.

In this context, here's an item Alex Stein sent me yesterday, with the added comment that he was personally there. It's from the rather popular Nana website which is affiliated with Channel Ten, and it contains a Channel Ten news report about a recent incident near the settlement of Yitzhar. A joint group of Palestinians and Israelis set out to demonstrate near the settlement. At one point some of them got too close to some structure (Alex can tell us more about it, I expect), and IDF troops shot warning rounds in the air, at which point the demonstrators moved back. At this point armed settlers started shooting at the demonstrators, or anyway, near them. No one was hurt, but the troops stood by and didn't intervene.

Should they have? Probably not: IDF troops don't have the authority to arrest people, and given the range (watch the film) what is the expectation? That they shoot the settlers?

On the other and, the film eventually made it to Betselem, and from there to the army, and also - yesterday - to the media. Last night at 4am police raided Yitzhar and arrested seven settlers, though they seem meanwhile to have been released. As I was not in the interrogation cells, I cannot say what the arrests were meant to achieve.

So what does all this tell us?

1. The media seems to be dong what it should be, and no-one is shutting it down. Nor are there any complaints about its "disloyalty" or any such nonsense.

2. Betselem has a positive role to play in Israeli democracy, when it tries to fix things in Hebrew rather than run to tell the tale in English.

3. Yitzhar is and remains a serious blemish on our name, not to mention being a scandal. Someday there will be a showdown there and they'll be disarmed and disbanded; this day should have been many years ago.

4. Also someday there will be a joint demonstration of Jews and Palestinians in which both sides will recognize the wrong they've committed during this very long war, and both will commit to building a better future based on this mutual recognition. That day, however, is very far away; indeed, it's quite inconceivable. So in the meantime all joint demonstrations will have to get along with agreement that the Israelis have been bad.

Update: Alex e-mails to ask that I add that the demonstration was organized by his outfit, Combatants for Peace. So I have.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Settler Violence at Yitzhar

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