Friday, June 22, 2012

Israel's 'price tag' terrorism has tactical political goals

By Jonathan Cook
The National
Jun 22, 2012

"Violent, so-called "price tag" attacks by Jewish settlers have become a staple of life for Palestinian communities over the past few months. The latest is the torching this week of a mosque in the village of Jaba, close to the city of Ramallah.

Palestinians in areas of the West Bank under Israeli control live with settler neighbours who beat and shoot them, set alight fields, poison wells, kill livestock and steal crops. These acts of terror have begun to spread elsewhere: homes, cars, cemeteries, mosques and churches are now targets in East Jerusalem and Israel too. Earlier this month a school and several cars were vandalised in Neve Shalom, the only genuinely mixed Jewish-Arab community in Israel.

Invariably the "price" invoked by the settlers is unrelated to any Palestinian action. Instead Palestinians are punished indiscriminately for the smallest concession the settlers fear Israel might make in the diplomatic arena.......

Ordinary Israelis are likewise adopting a mood that chimes with that of the settlers. The mounting documentary evidence of the settlers' brutality, difficult for Israelis to ignore or deny, is rapidly hardening public opinion.

This toughening of public emotion leaves Israelis both indifferent to the suffering of Palestinians and in a mood for violence and vengeance towards any non-Jews who share their state, including not only 1.5 million Palestinian citizens but also migrant workers and now African asylum-seekers.

Once Israelis longed to believe in their own mythical slogans of ethical superiority: they had the "most moral army in the world" and their soldiers, as Golda Meir famously observed, suffered uniquely from an oversensitivity syndrome termed "shoot and cry".

Nowadays, even the pretence of soul-searching is gone. If Israelis have a current motto, it is "shoot and shrug your shoulders"."

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