That’s Lisa Goldman‘s central thesis in an opinion piece written in today’s edition of Haaretz:
For Palestinians in the West Bank, the sense of helplessness and frustration must be enormous. When they are attacked, they can almost never hope for justice within the framework of the legal system. Nor are they allowed to defend themselves. Nor can they expect the IDF to protect them. And even when they protest these injustices using nonviolent methods – marching, chanting and waving flags – they are punished with arrests and violence, with dehumanizing skunk gas and beatings. So what happens when there is no legal recourse or justice for the injured and no real civic structure, and when the moderates are systematically crushed? Surely these are the ideal psychological circumstances that make people vulnerable to the beckoning finger of extremism.
This is an important point, underscored by increasing settler violence. When mosques are vandalized and farmers are attacked with impunity, only a small step further is needed before lawlessness becomes rampant and even soldiers are attacked. This is what happened in Yitzhar just a few days ago when residents of the settlement, some say students of a Yeshiva on the settlement, attacked and injured IDF soldiers. The security forces are clearly pissed:
â€œThe Israel Police and the Border Police will take a hard hand against the lawless rioters,â€ the Border Police said… The IDF is increasingly concerned that settler violence may ignite the West Bank and lead to an escalation in Palestinian terrorism. Data obtained by Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has shown in the past that settler violence leads to an increase in Palestinian attacks.
OK cool. Just enforce the rule of law across the board. Don’t come down hard on one side while giving the other a virtual free pass. That doesn’t help anyone.