July 28, 2023


Israel's Land Grabs in the West Bank are Helping Justify the Far-Right Government's Power Grabs: Tolerance of harsh measures in the occupied areas has distorted Israeli politics (EMILY TAMKIN, JUL 27, 2023, The UnPopulist)

Late last month, after the United Nations and the European Union voiced concern over violent attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined them. "Calls to grab land illegally and actions of grabbing land illegally, are unacceptable to me. They undermine law and order in Judea and Samaria and must stop immediately," he said at a cabinet meeting, using the biblical terms of the regions that make up the West Bank. At the same meeting, he touted his record of having "doubled" settlement construction in the West Bank, and as having done so "despite great and unprecedented international pressure."

But the pressure was exerted because such construction is illegal. And herein lies the paradox facing Netanyahu, as violence in the West Bank continues: Informal illegal land grabs and violence are happening within the context of formal illegal land grabs and violence.

First, the scope of the violence: United Nations' experts said that 2022 was the deadliest year in the West Bank since 2005 when tracking started. Some 150 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces; 33 of them children. The experts also said that 2022 was the sixth consecutive year of increased settler attacks. "Armed and masked Israeli settlers are attacking Palestinians in their homes, attacking children on their way to school, destroying property and burning olive groves, and terrorizing entire communities with complete impunity," they said.

This year is on pace to be still more violent. According to the Associated Press, as of late last month, 137 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank so far this year. Meanwhile, 24 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians. Earlier this summer, an Israeli raid on Jenin in which five Palestinians were killed was followed by Hamas gunmen killing four Israelis. This was followed by Israeli settlers rampaging through the town of Turmus Ayya, reportedly setting roughly 30 houses on fire.

Israel has never recovered, but still has time to, from Ariel Sharon's stroke.
Posted by at July 28, 2023 6:59 AM