December 16: Condemnations

"It is incumbent on leadership to vigorously condemn acts of violence committed by misguided settler youth."

Sir, – I believe it is incumbent on the responsible religious and civil settlement leadership to forthrightly and vigorously condemn any and all acts of violence and vandalism committed by misguided and criminal settler youth (“Government to address ‘price-tag’ attacks after violence at IDF base,” December 14).
The parents of these young vigilantes also bear some of the responsibility for their children’s shameful and disgraceful behavior.
Peaceful resistance and demonstrations to protest the demolition of outposts or places deemed illegal by the lawful Israeli government are certainly proper and essential. However, when these youngsters physically attack IDF soldiers or Israeli policemen and wantonly destroy IDF equipment, police cars and other property, their activities become criminal and despicable.
Sir, – The phenomenon of price-tag attacks must stop immediately.
The army and police can run into the settlements like a bull in a china shop to up root out the guilty parties (and unfortunately inflict collateral damage), or the settlers, working with the authorities, can isolate, extract and punish those responsible for the mess.
If democracy is to prevail we have a lot of work to do to convince the misguided youth living in the settlements to act according to accepted norms when they have a grievance.
Sir, – It is not sufficient for settler leaders and rabbis to condemn attacks on the IDF, pricetag attacks or attempts to cross the Jordanian border.
All citizens owe it to the state to provide timely information regarding possible perpetrators of illegal activities to enable authorities to nip these activities in the bud.
We are are and wish to remain a nation of laws.
Such renegades have no place in our society. Nor do their facilitators.
...and accusations
Sir, – Neither rioting nor mosque burning is acceptable.
However, a little perspective is in order.
The perpetrators live under a shadow of uncertainty.
They have no sense of security regarding the viability of their communities.
What’s more, they have no way of understanding why their settlements have any lesser claim to legitimacy than do Deganya or Sde Boker.
Our government provides no hint or clue as to its policies and intentions. It offers neither incentives to leave Judea and Samaria nor the peace of mind that comes with knowing one’s home there is sacrosanct.
Indeed, the only empirical reference point is the cynical evacuation of Gush Katif, where thousands were set adrift. Had there been some tangible benefit to that forced eviction it would be one thing, but the net effect of rendering Gaza judenrein has been unmitigated disaster.
Sir, – Does anyone see the other side of the picture? Is it good behavior when the IDF comes in swinging to destroy another Jew’s house that the government calls illegal? I can fill pages with examples of violence and law-breaking by the IDF and police against what today are called “settlers,” “extremists” and the like.
Our prime minister and defense minister have to implement a program for soldiers and police on the way they should act toward fellow Jews. Make them understand that when they use unnecessary violence, they teach fellow Jews to follow their example.
Hopefully, the behavior of our protectors will teach others that we are all Jews and cannot afford to use terror of any kind against each other. To win the war against our enemies, we have to learn to live in peace among ourselves.
Ma’aleh Adumim