Some years ago, Yuval Diskin was stepping down as Shin Bet chief. My Israeli source confirmed at the time that the candidate to succeed Diskin would be Yitzhak Ilan. Ilan was then head of the Jewish terror unit of the agency, responsible for hunting down settler terrorists and those guilty of violence against Palestinian civilians. Ilan’s promotion was a done deal. The only thing that remained was making the public announcement.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the press conference. Sara Netanyahu intervened. She didn’t like Ilan. Nor did settler leaders who found his tactics too harsh and too adversarial. The two united to put the kibosh on Ilan’s candidacy. Alex Fishman, one of Israel’s finest security reporters, writes this in Yediot:
The prime minister had already fixed his hypocritical strategy toward [Jewish] terror when he allowed himself to be deterred in the matter of appointing the last Shabak chief. The settler leaders and rabbis warned him that he dare not appoint the agency’s number two, Yitzhak Ilan, who specialized in dealing with Jewish terror. Netanyahu backed down.
As a result, the job went to Yoram Cohen. The proof for the claim that Ilan was sabotaged due to his zealous pursuit of Jewish terror may be seen in the Shabak’s lackadaisical approach to such violent incidents under the new chief. The new guy has clearly downplayed this aspect of the domestic security mission.
In a recent public conference, even former Shabak and Mossad chiefs, Shabtai Shavit and Carmi Gillon called Israel a land with laws that aren’t enforced when it comes to Jews attacking Palestinians:
Israel is unable to solve the problem of…”price tag” attacks – because it doesn’t want to solve them, former Shin Bet head Carmi Gillon said on Saturday at a cultural event in Beersheba.
“We don’t see results, because we’re not intended to see them,” Gillon said, according to Nana website. “There’s no such thing as ‘can’t do’ in the Shin Bet, just ‘don’t want.'”
…Speaking at the same event, former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit also crtiticized the government over the handling of the attacks, saying “Israel is a lawful country that does not enforce its laws.”
Similarly, I wrote here about a former Shabak agent, now a journalist, who eviscerated his former agency’s response to Jewish terror. The Israel Broadcasting Authority quotes Gillon making an even more emphatic claim:
…The price tag phenomenon is likely to lead to the murder of another Israeli prime minister.
In other words, if you condone attacks against property and violence against Palestinian civilians, eventually you will embolden a Jewish terrorist to take the law into his own hands and commit the ultimate crime. But there’s one problem with Gillon’s assumption: no settler need kill an Israeli prime minister because none could get elected who a settler would feel motivated to eliminate. Anyone elected to Israel’s highest political post will do the bidding of settlers. So why the need to kill? In effect, the settlers have become King Louis XIV when he said: “L’etat, c’est moi.”
The upshot of all this is that Israel’s domestic intelligence agency reflects the will of prime minister, his government, and the people of Israel when it refuses to investigate or punish those responsible for violence against Palestinian cemeteries, mosques and personal property. The Israeli state condones Jewish terror. In effect these settler terrorists are unofficial agents for the state. They know can not only get away with it, but that they’re doing a job the state tacitly approves.
Though some may find the phrase “terror state” too strong as applied to Israel, I’m afraid if the shoe fits…In other words, a state which sanctions hundreds of repetitive acts of political violence by refusing to stop it, is a state which has become terroristic. The ‘face’ of the state will never acknowledge this. It will make bold, meaningless statements, as Shimon Peres does regularly, decrying lawlessness and demanding it be punished. But the proof is in the pudding. For another example of shameful hypocrisy when it comes to denouncing settler violence, read this from the Conference of Presidents (Conference of Presidents Leaders Express Outrage at Attacks by Extremist Elements in Israel) which has the chutzpah to claim price tags are bad only because they encourage the “delegitimizers” of the world to spread hatred of Israel.
Israel and its advocates have lost their moral compass. There is no absolute value or principle for which Israel stands. Rather, it is a series of practical deals with the devil. The country acknowledges morality when in its interests to do so. But it accepts no moral obligations upon itself that would diminish its prerogatives or interests. This is a place which has lost all right to call itself just or tolerant or even democratic.
Daniel F. says
There exists a delicate balance between the religious right and the secular left in Israel.
Over the years the religious right has acquired benifits and political influence beyond their numbers.
Over zealous investigation of “price tag” attacks would cause resentment and a backlash from within the entitled right
that would exacerbate the tensions between religious and secular Jews in Israel.
No Jew wants to open that Pandora box.
The resort to violence must be the sole discretion of the State, and never it’s citizens.
I wholly agree that settler violence and ‘price tags’ must both be ruthlessly suppressed by the organs of the State.
May someone remind Carmi Gilon, who was the head of the Shin Bet during the Rabin assassination, that “There’s no such thing as ‘can’t do’ in the Shin Bet, just ‘don’t want.”
Price tag, in the form being preformed today as an act of cowardliness.
The picture is of Avi Dichter and Yuval Diskin.
Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says it’s just hooliganism. One cannot equate these squatter attacks as terrorism.
“Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property, and places of worship in the West Bank continued and were largely unprosecuted,” the State Department report said, citing UN and NGO data.
nessim dayan says
please scream louder as loudest as you can and get as many as you can get to scream it loudest. we the abhorrent majority that has been eviscerated by a tiny population have nothing better than to call this a RACIST COUNTRY, no shred of democracy, civility or vestige of education (not in the studying sense) is left. I am sick to my stomach to hear what goes for politics. so low as to go kiss putin’s ring rather than to stand by the country that contributes most children to the israeli army, UKRAINE. This is the result of Adelson/Aipac nurturing.
Off topic, but I think you should jump in on the discussion about the Nahum Barnea interview with some unnamed American official.
There’ve been a couple of pieces at Mondoweiss, Jerome Slater’s blog, Mitchell Plitnick,and probably some others. They have slightly different takes. I found the Slater/Plitnick pieces the most interesting. For me the real point would be to urge our mainstream press to cover it, as it’s a very revealing interview in all kinds of ways.
Thanks for the links. I read the first reference of the eye-catcher by Larry Derfner @972+
○ U.S. post-mortem on peace talks: Israel killed them
Earlier note by RS: I’m delighted that The Nation has republished, Israel-Palestine: Kerry’s Peace Talks Hit the Separation Wall, which I wrote for Foreign Policy in Focus, on the death of the U.S. brokered Israel-Palestine peace talks.