Yesterday, an ultra-orthodox Jew stabbed six people who attended the Jerusalem Pride Parade. The man was released just a few weeks ago from an Israeli prison after spending ten years for stabbing three people are the 2005 Jerusalem Pride Parade. This follows years of homophobic comments from rabbis, ultra-orthodox and Jewish Home (nationalist-religious party) members of Knesset and repeated blocking of pro-LGBT rights legislation by Netanyahu’s coalition.
Then this morning, we found out that overnight, settlers threw Molotov cocktails on Palestinian homes in Douma, near Nablus, injuring four members of one family and killing an 18-months-old baby, Ali Dawabsheh. His mother and four-year-old brother are still in critical condition in an Israeli hospital. The settlers spray-painted a Star of David, “vengeance” and “Long live the King, the Messiah” in Hebrew. This is the third attack with Molotov cocktails on a Palestinian home during the night in the past year and a half. The purpose of these attacks is clear- to burn to death families while they sleep.
Following these attacks by Jewish extremists, Israeli ministers rushed to condemn the attack, but those condemnations ring hollow. The government constantly caves under pressure from radical settlers who resort to violence even against Israeli security forces. IDF soldiers routinely observe violent attacks against Palestinians and their property and do nothing. The chance that a Palestinian complaint about settler violence will lead to an indictment is just 7.6%. Hundreds of “Price Tag” attacks (the name of attacks on Palestinians and their property) have been carried out by settlers in the past few years and only in very rare cases are the perpetrators caught and brought to justice. This is simply not a priority for this government. Extremist Rabbis who issued public calls to use violence against Palestinians and “cleanse” the Land of Israel from them are not facing incitement charges.
How a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Betzalel Smutrich (Jewish Home party) chose to respond to the murder in Douma: “The murder in Douma deserves every condemnation and denunciation. It is bad because it’s bad and it’s bad because it’s harmful [to Israel’s/settlers’ image]. The IDF must prepare for the riots that will develop. They must prevent a wave of murderous Palestinian terrorism.” In 2006, Smutrich organized a “Beasts’ Parade” in front of the Jerusalem Pride Parade and in 2005, during the Israeli Disengagement from Gaza, he and four other far-right Israeli were caught with 700 liters of gasoline and oil and was suspected of planning to carry out terror attacks.
When the Israeli Minister of Justice posts on her Facebook (during the war in Gaza) that all Palestinians are legitimate targets, including children and women, it is clear that the problem is much deeper and goes much higher than just a few (hundreds/thousands) extreme settlers.
The dehumanization of Palestinians by Israeli government officials that is used to justify Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinian people under military rule and blockade is the root of the problem. The lack of action by the Israeli government and these terror attacks are the symptoms.