[Updated] On the 11th of March, much of the international community expressed outrage after learning about an assault that left five Israeli family members dead in Itamar, an Israeli settlement 5 kilometers southeast of Nablus. Just days after, the international community experienced another shock when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized another round of settlement expansions in the West Bank.
The murders in Itamar have since become a main line of argument against settlement growth. There can no justification for the attacks that left five unarmed individuals dead, but the way in which Itamar is used to frame the settlement problem evades both justice for the immediate victims and justice for the region’s inhabitants as a whole. This strategy ignores the root of the conflict and instead perpetuates the intolerance and hatred existing within the region’s racial and religious divides. Logic, in its most objective form, is the only remedy.
‘Do we need another Itamar?’
Conversation with a pro-Israel critic of Netanyahu’s settlement fetish normally begins with any variation of the following sentences: ‘The government just approved 700 new settlement units. Can’t Netanyahu see that more Jewish lives will be lost? Do we need another Itamar?’
It is this ideological thought process that harms any future of peace and further instigates the oppression of Palestinians — albeit in a subtle manner. Not only does the critic refuse to recognize the role of settlements within the context of international law but he or she also chooses to ignore Palestinians’ right to safety and security. The only concern, it seems, is for the safety of the settlers — just the settlers. This transcends semantics and petty discourse; it’s a representation of the racism inherent within Israel’s sociopolitíc. [Read more...]