US Scholars: Designate Israeli Extremists as Terrorists

By: Laura Rozen

Amid a rising spate of Jewish extremist violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank, two prominent US Middle East scholars are urging the United States to officially designate as terrorists those Israeli extremists who perpetrate terrorist violence against Palestinian civilians, Israeli citizens and even moderate elements of the settler movement.

The US, “much like Israel…, should consider designating individuals involved in acts of violence against Palestinians as terrorists,” Daniel Byman and Natan Sachs, researchers at the Brookings Institution Saban Center, wrote in the current issue of Foreign Afffairs.

“Such a designation would allow US authorities to prevent Americans from sending them funding and would be a way to support those Israelis seeking to combat the rise of extremism,” they continue.

Israeli leaders unusually forcefully condemned “as hate crimes” and “terror” an attempted lynching of Palestinian youths by a mob of Israeli teenagers in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square last week. Israeli authorities arrested seven Israeli teenagers suspected in the attack, which came on the same day a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Palestinian taxi near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, in which five members of a Palestinian family and the driver were burned.

“We unequivocally condemn racist violence and urge the police and law enforcement community to act expeditiously to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The hate crimes which were carried out against Arabs over the weekend in the West Bank and Jerusalem are intolerable and must be dealt with using a heavy hand,”Israeli Vice Premier Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, from Israel’s ruling Likud party, said on August 19.  “These are acts of terror with all that implies and are against Jewish ethics and values and are first and foremost an educational and moral failing.”

Such language from Israeli leaders to condemn Jewish extremist violence ”is a game-changer in terms of the discourse,” veteran Israeli peace activist Daniel Seidemann wrote in an analysis posted by the Atlantic’s Jeff Goldberg. “It’s not only the ‘Arabists’ at State that call this terror, this is from our deputy prime minister, who is not about to get a prize from B’Tselem (Israel’s most prominent human rights group).”

“Calling these acts ‘terrorism’ is very important,” Foreign Affairs’ co-author Sachs said in a press call organized by the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday. “It represents a break between the mainstream right and this violent fringe. More and more settler leaders see this as a stain on their own political cap.”

Sachs said that while the Israeli leaders’ forceful denunciation of the violence is encouraging, more vigilance and legal tools are needed to protect Palestinian civilians, especially amid the stalemated Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“With the peace process in a stalemate, Israel’s control of the West Bank is not likely to end soon, and the government cannot ignore the persistent settler violence by claiming that the settlement issue will soon be resolved as part of a peace deal,” Byman and Sachs wrote in Foreign Affairs.

“In arguing that Israeli and American authorities should designate these as acts of terrorism, we are joining Israeli officials — generals, the vice premier, to describe these attacks,” Sachs said.

“Designating individuals as terrorists means a host of legal [tools] come into play,” Sachs explained. “That means legally US citizens would be forbidden from funding these organizations,” thus reducing financial and ideological support for extremists whose acts of destabilizing violence are aimed at intimidating and thwarting the legitimacy of the Israeli state and the Palestinian authority.

The State Department has listed acts of Jewish extremist violence in its annual terrorism reports going back to 2008, but has not formally designated perpetrators, such as the so-called “price tag” gang, as terrorists.

On Wednesday, the State Department joined Israel leaders in harshly condemning the Israeli teenagers’ attacks on Palestinian youths, which left a Palestinian teenager, Jamal Julani, in a coma for two days.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless act of hate and violence committed against a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem on August 17,” The State Department said. “We wish victim Jamal Julani a speedy recovery.” 

“Discriminatory acts of violence undermine and discredit efforts toward peace and security between Israelis and Palestinians,” the State Department statement continued. “We welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu’s unequivocal condemnation of racism and violence and his call for a full police investigation. The perpetrators of this hateful crime must be held to account.”

  1. #1 by Blake on 08/25/2012 - 9:34

    Wow only taken them like 70 years to catch on

  2. #2 by Blake on 08/25/2012 - 9:34

    ^ and state the obvious.

  3. #3 by Ponders70 on 08/25/2012 - 9:34

    It’s about freaking time. TERRORISTS!!!
    We have just heard that, in the war on terror,
    a drone strike killed the head of the Haqqani network and one of the remaining leaders of the Taliban. A drone strike against terrorists. Shouldn’t the same rules apply to other known terrorists? I mean if the shoe fits…….
    I for one would cheer and encourage the use of drone strikes on these settler terrorists. Perhaps then they would learn that their actions will not go unpunished. And when hell rains down upon them from above, they will realize they are NOT the chosen ones. Here’s hoping.

  4. #4 by MJ on 08/25/2012 - 9:34

    Their efforts while welcome are pitiful.
    Mark I found another video for the Strangers nasheed:

  5. #5 by Naeem on 08/25/2012 - 9:34

    Its unrecorded in recent history the state terrorist israeli leaders condemning violence against arabs it seems the De legitimizing of israel is higher than anytime in its history which is great news.

  6. #6 by Vickie Jacobs on 08/25/2012 - 9:34

    Marcus and Joni Lamb have a campaign to send thousands to Israel with their DayStar promotion last week. I’m sure the money is used………….ugh……….wisely………..did I say that?
    He put on his prayer shawl and said that he sees the person that is going to send DayStar ten thousand dollars…….for………..ugh peace right?
    Maybe Marcus has red invisible blood on his hands. It will show up later.

  7. #7 by Lydia on 08/26/2012 - 9:34

    “Here’s your sign.” – Bill Engvall.

  8. #8 by on 08/26/2012 - 9:34

    the only way to beat the terrorist askanazzi in israel to begin protection of the indigenous palestinians and to begin to protect the rest of the world from israeli terrorism is to lawfully legislate against the hate crimes of the zionists and the russian askanazzi settlers as well as the ultra orthodox criminals who hide behind piousness and yet are deep seated psycopathiic killers and criminals with thier fingers in all the criminal enterprises globally….isnt this their play book ? , to legislate all non jewish people out of existence and to allow the jewish propaGANDA of rediculous chosen rhetoric to keep enslaving the world through thier money master games of usary and fractional banking swindles … doesnt take a genius to see that if the agendas of the ultra religious talmud adherants and their co quasi religion of zionism and communism will destroy what is left of civilized world ,and it wont take long for them to implement total control over the world with all the anti commonist and constitutional laws the political traitors in office have allowed for the jews to influence

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