A somewhat more "hot" issue, it seems, than the settlements themselves, is the issue of settler violence. And let's be clear here too: Groups like the ADL are quite vocal and pronounced in condemning acts of settler violence against the Palestinian people. Which is good. But I do think there is not enough intention in the pro-Israel community to the seeming culture of impunity that surrounds these acts. The settler thugs that perpetrate these acts don't seem to get caught or punished, and I don't see why. I don't see why when they throw rocks, it's not assault. I don't see why when they build a new "outpost" on private Palestinian land, it's not theft. There is effort by the IDF to maintain order in the West Bank, but its mostly by dispersion. The settlers who break the law aren't prosecuted. And I think there needs to be a crackdown, starting now.
And maybe there will be. The IDF seems to be getting mighty tired of the daily provocations of extremist "hilltop youth" folks whose belligerence is targeted towards the IDF and Palestinians.
Israel Defense Forces officers have lashed out at rioters who clashed with soldiers at the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar on Tuesday.
"These people are scum," one senior officer told Haaretz after three soldiers were wounded by stones thrown near the hilltop settlement, known for its hard-line yeshiva, or Jewish seminary.
It was seminary students who had instigated the violence, the officer said.
"They don't even represent the settlers of Yitzhar. Most of the problems in the area stem from yeshiva students in the settlement. People think they come there to study Torah - but the only reason they come there is to incite riots and provoke the Palestinians."
After the incident, the IDF vowed to take serious steps to curb settle violence at Yitzhar, with assistance from local police and the Shin Bet security service's Jewish unit, set up to thwart violence by extremist settlers.
"[Yitzhar] is a focal point for violence and harassment and the time has come to put a stop to this," the officer said. "The problem requires fundamental action by all the law enforcement agencies."
Yitzhar is best known as the focal point for the settler "price tag" policy -- essentially, terrorist acts meant to put a "price" on the settlement freeze agreed to by the Netanyahu government. As far as I'm concerned, the folks promoting "price tag" should be treated the same as any other violent opponents of Israeli government policy. And maybe soon, they will.