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The news dump day for Israeli papers is often Sunday here in the US, where their AM edition is many hours earlier than ours. Oh my, what an interesting dump this morning.

First, two papers, Ma'an here, and Ha'aretz here, are both reporting that the United States government has reported in its annual 2011 report on Terrorism that various acts which we here associate with settlers, including price tag attacks, and attacks on mosques, are terrorist acts. Just sit and chew on that one for a moment.

And THEN, Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon of the current Israeli government  has here labelled two recent horrible incidents, a firebombing of a car full of a Palestinian family, and an attack on three Palestinians by Israelis, arrests now pending as reported elsewhere, were 'terrorist attacks.'  The magic word again, on two different but apparently related groups of matters involving settlers and terrorism by official voices. The firebombing incident,  was especially interesting in the treatment as Israeli papers also reported that PM Netanyahu was in touch with WB President Abbas to assure him that the firebombing was appalling and would be very diligently investigated. here. The assault on Palestinians in West Jerusalem is now being described in press shorthand in the Israeli papers as the "Jerusalem lynch', offensive though that phrase is in other circumstances, and reports have already appeared as to arrests in that matter.

JP did not report this but had an article in which it asserted that Mr. Abbas in the same article charged that IDF was not doing anyting to prevent these attacks, and, deep breath and a pause. . . was going on with its new September application to the UN general assembly for non member state status, and that as 133 countries/members recognized them, they expected to do well.

Conversation below.

This set of developments are in their own way thrilling, to those for whom human rights are a very important issue. As we all know here, the term 'terrorist' is currently used politically in a number of areas, including matters in the US alone, to designate a class of crimes and doers who are beyond the legal pale, with whom NO occasionally friendly dealings can ever be acceptable. Far beyond mere criminals. And here it is, in enough reporting that, unlike the Israeli reporting on the US allegedly setting up a claim in its annual Human Rights Report from Department of State,  that Israel was violating religious freedom by not setting Jewish worship schedules on Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, which was denied promptly by the US, it appears to be accurate.

First, the US recognition of settler acts in WB as terrorist acts, places those terrorists and their supporters in a substantially different and more ambiguous position, given the tendency of some, but not all,supporters of Israeli governmental policies, both in the US and Israel,  to label Palestinian bad acts and bad words as significations of their status as terrorists, but have said nothing about the various price tag attacks, mosque attacks and other similar events when the doers are apparently settlers, and prosecuted and even used administrative detention without charges for some Palestinians said to be associated with them, but have done virtually nothing in the investigation and charging of those settlers who have done bad acts, sometimes even seen doing them in Friendly Stranger's videos. That distinction is now toast, and US remedies and policies applicable to 'terrorists' may now have effect on both sides, not just one. This is IMO an excellent

Second, whether as a result of the US stand or otherwise, we are now looking at the Israeli PM calling on Abbas to assure him justice will be done or at least the processes of law cranked up to find the doers of the firebombing and the 'Jerusalem lynch', and arrests are being made in the Jerusalem lynch matter AND the deputy Prime Minister is now calling thefirebombing at least,  a "terrorist attack," contrary to Jewish values, intolerable and to to be dealt with,  as well.

This translates to me as a material change in the politics of the situation, as heretofore there have not been systematic investigations and resolutions of such matters, but now with the new and highly prejudicial reclassification of them, by both the US and the Israeli government, there is at least a probability that these matters will be treated with more seriousness as the massive violations of rights by the use of illegal force, which they are and always have been.

 I take the deputy PM's statements as authorized by the proper authorities and a signal of the change in status, despite the huge pr pressure from settler political supporters in recent times, in favor of the Levy Report and related matters, either as a matter which the US change in position requires or at least a serious move on the settler violence issue of sufficient strength that the government itself must admit the terrorist character of at least the firebombing and act accordingly. Heretofore, one could not have the word 'terrorist' used in connection with any Israeli governmental act or any settler act. That is a huge change which suggests a huge need to force it into existence.

It also suggests IMO a change in the political combat over settler issues and framing domestically in Israel, as  the current government's position on settler misconduct has consistently been a version of "Who, us? You must be kidding or antisemitic or both."

I do not think it is merely this weekend's nine day wonder PR change, so that the release of the Department of State report is being matched with the I government's verbal agreement, avoiding the PR damage in a US election period which a public conflict of this kind might create, and the damage of it for other goals of the I government such as the Iranian conflict, and the upcoming UN session. Avoiding the perception of a genuine gap in human rights issues between the US and Israel is a priority for Israel, as their close relationship with the US is their first line of defense in issues more important even than this one in which no exceptional gap can be tolerated, for fear others will also appear. And the suggestion that any settlers might be terrorists and not merely faithful patriots will have political consequences and costs in Israeli politics which may get truly, truly ugly, a problem of its own when that plate in Israel is unusually full of divisive matters.  Of course, it also has the political effect here of not allowing this US finding, with which the I government is making a form of public agreement, from further fiddling with the US elections in the same way silence would have done - it's harder for AIPAC and the Neocons to object to the US  saying what the official Israeli government is prepared to say and has now said.

A third effect is that the official quality of the US position is such that one can no longer say without exceptions that the US is unprepared to act at all on such terrorism matters, nor be entirely blind to what an otherwise important ally is doing. For those of us who don't like Obama's terrorism inflexibility and/or question Hillary's conduct as to Israel, this is a good day.

I have no idea whether this will last beyond the week, but even the fact of this confluence is a major alteration of the conversation worth noting and discussing. The occurrence of the issue at all, even if it doesn't last, is a sea change. And given the way the conversation arose, I also do not think this is a violation of DKos Godwin for IP matters.

It's actually a quite nice Sunday news dump.

Conversation on the usual rules is invited. No thread jacking, no violations of DKos Godwin for IP, no personal attacks on the diarist or other commenters (I know some of you are falling back into naughty ways, but Don't Do It Here), attach functioning links to demonstrate factual matters you wish to assert, etc etc. You've all read these enough times to know how to act here.

Originally posted to Christy1947 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This appears to be good news which may improve (4+ / 0-)

    the likelihood that the parties can achieve a successful two state solution, which sadly  has seemed to be diminishing as time goes by.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:50:28 PM PDT

  •  thanks, a very interesting and hopeful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Pissed Off Liberal, Wee Mama

    development.  Let's hope there are more to follow.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

    by nailbender on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:03:34 PM PDT

  •  I'll be more excited when these settler (6+ / 0-)

    attacks get reported as terrorism in the New York Times or the Washington Post ; )

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:13:56 PM PDT

  •  Is this really a development? (3+ / 0-)

    Kach was recognized as a terrorist group long years ago for bombing mosques and the like.  Identifying acts by "lone gunman" types and ad hoc bands of individuals as "terrorism" is similarly nothing new, and it's a sad state of affairs when our government can no longer admit that such things occur in the OTs without cover from Bibi & Co (exigencies of electoral campaigns against Dominionists and other End-Timers notwithstanding).

    Which brings us to the question: How interested are Bibi & Co. in pursuing such matters?  To some degree, they must certainly be interested, because every state insists on possessing a monopoly on the commission of violence within its area of control.  I'm a bit more skeptical as to whether he'd want to expose any "terrorist networks" -- should they exist -- among the settlers, however.  After all, who's been financing the settlers all these years?

  •  This is not really a new development (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Aunt Martha, poco, angry marmot

    If you go back through State Department reports over the years, you'll find lots of statements from the US recognising Israeli terrorism. It hasn't affected our relationship in the slightest nor has it led to any material effect on the ground - it has not stood in they way of the rapid increase in settlement activity in the OPT for example, nor brought about any lessening of our material support for Israel. As long as Israel can package this as 'extremists' rather than the logical conclusion of the massacres and ethnic cleansing  since 1948, of which the occupation is a part, then the US will keep supplying the material support. The reason I say this is that Palestinians are prey to daily violence under military occupation - those we label as 'terrorist' acts are usually just a type of violence that is outside the norm to which he have become habituated.

  •  Well Firebombing and attempted is lynching (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    no two ways about it. The people who did this should be roundly condemned and should spend the rest of their days in jail for their horrible actions.

    "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

    by volleyboy1 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:17:35 PM PDT

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