May 11, 2014


Calls to class far-right Jewish settlers as terrorists after Israeli soldiers attacked (Orlando Crowcroft, 5/11/14,

Calls are mounting for hardline Jewish settlers to be classified as terrorists after a spate of attacks on Palestinian property in the West Bank and Israel, and threats of violence towards Israeli soldiers.

Last week, the justice minister, Tzipi Livni, and the internal security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, both argued that rightwing extremists should be classified as terrorists following attacks on soldiers at the hardline West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

Making of a martyr : a review of The Reckoning: Death and Intrigue in the Promised Land. By Patrick Bishop (The Economist, May 3rd 2014)

Most Zionist movements in Palestine suspended their armed struggle at the start of the second world war, judging that Nazi Germany's determination to annihilate the Jews was a far bigger threat. At least 30,000 signed up for the British army, receiving training, security information and weapons, which later proved decisive in Israel's war of independence in 1948. But a fringe broke away under the leadership of a Polish-born romantic poet, Avraham Stern. Throughout the war, they ambushed British forces, even soliciting fascist and Nazi support for their campaign.

Patrick Bishop sets out in detail the story of the British manhunt to root out "Herr" Stern and his small band of "Fighters for the Freedom of Israel", better known by its Hebrew acronym, Lehi. As long as Stern's men were perpetrating atrocities against Palestinians, the British continued to hold the ring. His militants sewed explosive vests and planted bombs in chocolate boxes and milk-churns in Arab cinemas, caf├ęs and markets. When caught, they did spells in detention camps, often escaping with remarkable ease.

But when the Stern gang began turning those same tactics on British administrators and the Jewish "collaborators" who worked for them, booby-trapping their officers along Tel Aviv's main drag, Dizengoff, and detonating gelignite under commanders' cars, Britain's chief of police in Palestine sought its "liquidation". Encircled by Vichy forces in Lebanon and Syria, a Nazi-backed takeover in Iraq and Rommel's forces advancing into Egypt, the British were loth to leave Axis sympathisers on the loose in Palestine. 

Posted by at May 11, 2014 12:37 PM

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