Sanctioning Settlers for Peace

On Feb 1, 2024 President Biden signed an executive order that imposes sanctions “on persons undermining peace, security, stability, in the West Bank.” Biden explained in the order that:

The situation in the West Bank -- in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction -- has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East region.

One of the incidents of violence that led to Biden signing the order was the shooting of a 17-year-old American by the name of Tawfiq Abel Jabbar two weeks before. After the shooting U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby extended Washington’s “deepest condolences” to his family and insisted on the killing being investigated even though the reason he was shot was known, Tawfiq was shot by an Israeli he was stoning on Route 60, the main north-south highway in Judea and Samaria.

Jabbar’s mother told Al-Araby Al Jadeed that since the family returned to Samaria from Gretna, La. Tawfiq had regularly attacked Jewish drivers in the area of Wadi Haramiya. Her son was “always talking about martyrdom,” she noted. “Tawfic was an outstanding student in school, and he hoped to become an engineer, but he obtained the greatest certificate in the world by his martyrdom,” Mona Abdel Jabbar said.

Since the 1980s, at least 16 people have been killed as a result of car crashes caused by Palestinian rock-throwers, including 11-year-old Chava Wechsberg, five-month-old Yehuda Shoham, and Asher Palmer and his one-year-old son -- all four of them dual Israeli-American citizens. No sanctions were imposed on the Palestinians for those attacks.

On February 26,2023 there was a traffic jam on Route 60 near the town of Hurwara. A Palestinian took advantage of the stopped cars and opened fire on them killing two brothers. Their parents said that nothing would fill the hole in their hearts after losing their sons. Settlers reacted by rioting later that day in Huwara. One of those settlers, David Chai Chasdai was sanctioned by the U.S. State Department for doing so.

The Palestinian Authority pays stipends to terrorists in Israeli jails as well as to their families. Palestinian terrorists can commit mass murder knowing that their families will be well taken care of. On March 8, 2016, a 21-year-old Palestinian man from Qalqilya killed Taylor Force, an American tourist and wounded ten civilians in a stabbing spree in Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Then-vice president Joe Biden was in Israel when Taylor Force was stabbed to death there. In fact, he was in Tel Aviv, where the murder occurred. Even more coincidental, he was in the immediate vicinity. He personally "condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutal attack," adding that "there is no justification for such acts of terror." President Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law which cut aid to the Palestinian Authority until they stopped funding individuals who commit terror and their families. In Biden’s first 100 days in office Biden resumed funding the Palestinians in violation of the Taylor Force Act.

There is a pattern emerging here which is that it is not the settlers who are instigating the violence “that is a serious threat to peace” -- but it is the settlers who are being sanctioned.

Mizpeh Yericho is a town next to Jericho in Judea. Aliza Pilichowski, the mayor of Mizpeh Yericho, wrote in the Jerusalem Post that:

While the world is making a big deal out of “settler violence” it’s ignoring the daily Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank. Palestinians attempt and commit three to six terror attacks a day in Israel. These are targeted attacks against innocent civilians. Last week a Palestinian terrorist shot two Jews in Samaria, one died. The headlines on that same day omitted the Palestinian terror attack and instead focused on “settler violence” that in actuality was graffiti.

Settlers are an easy community to pick on and an easy way to score points with Palestinian sympathizers demanding the media, government, and activists balance their strong support for Israel in its war in Gaza.

Mayor Pilichowski hit the nail on the head, Biden’s sanctions are meant to score points with American voters who are anti-Israel. Massive demonstrations against Israel demonstrate just how large that voter bloc is. There is, however, another more pernicious reason for Biden to publicly condemn the settlers, and that is his illusion of a two-state solution that will bring peace to the Middle East. In his executive order Biden wrote that the actions of the settlers “undermine the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including the viability of a two-state solution.”

A two-state solution entails uprooting Israeli communities from Judea and Samaria in order to create yet another Palestinian state (There are already four de facto Palestinian states). Uprooting settlers from their homes is immoral. Contrary to what President Biden would have us believe the majority of settlers are peaceful. Aliza Pilichowsky pointed out that:

There are more than 500,000 Jews who live in the region of Judea and Samaria… They aren’t ideologues and they’re not violent. They believe they have a right to live in this area just as much as Jerusalem or Tel Aviv… There’s rarely any evidence of crimes committed by settlers that substantiate these crimes. Instead of the lack of evidence setting off alarm bells that Palestinians and their apologists are falsifying reports, the media points to the lack of arrests and convictions as evidence of Israel not doing enough to stop the violence.

Israel has uprooted communities for peace before. Israel uprooted all the Jewish communities in Gaza in 2005, turned their land over to the Palestinians and turning Gaza into a Palestinian state. If there is one lesson that should have been learned by western politicians from the Hamas massacre of October 7, 2023, it is that Israel uprooting its citizens and turning their land over to Palestinians to create a state does not bring peace, harmony, and goodwill.

Anti-Semitism is growing rapidly all over the world, including the United States. The golden age for Jews in America is coming to an end. The importance of land in Judea and Samaria as a land of refuge for Jews the world over is growing. Instead of demonizing and sanctioning settlers the United States should be sanctioning the Palestinians who attack them. The United States should not pressure Israel into repeating the terrible mistake it made in Gaza in Judea and Samaria.

Image: Central Intelligence Agency

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