Aug 16, 2022
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On Monday,  Public Security Minister Omer Barlev tweeted that he discussed rising “settler violence” with Victoria Nuland, the US undersecretary for political affairs. He tweeted that the two discussed “settler violence and how to reduce tensions in the area and strengthen the Palestinian Authority.”

US pressure Israel over “settler violence”

Haaretz reported that the discussion came after Nuland revealed that the US State Department wawas monitoring “settler violence.” Barlev told Nuland his ministry and the Defense Ministry were working together to address the matter and said he was working to deploy more police in the West Bank. He later stated that he told Nuland that the strategy to resolve the conflict was to create jobs for the Arabs via US funded economic projects.

“I told her that increasing the work permits for Palestinians in Israel, both from Judea and Samaria and Gaza, which we are already carrying out, is a key to reducing tensions, just like implementing the plan to establish a joint industrial zone on the outskirts of Gaza and more,” Barlev tweeted. “American assistance for such projects can help a lot.”

The US pressure on Israel over the “settlements” coincides with the passing of a UN General Assembly  resolution condemning “acts of terror by several extremist Israeli settlers.” The resolution was part of a package of six anti-Israel texts the UNGA approved Thursday that condemned Israeli settlement activity, called for a withdrawal from the Golan Heights, and affirmed the work of UNRWA. The resolution “condemned acts of violence and terror against civilian on both sides” but it only recounted alleged acts of violence by Jews while not mentioning the more prevalent antisemitic Arab violence.

Gantz beefs up police to act against settlers

Defense Minister Benny Gantz anounced onTuesday that he is working to incorporate hundreds of IDF soldiers into the police force in order to operate in Judea and Samaria to combat “settler violence.” The initiative is being backed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. 

Criticism of Barlev

Bennett  criticized Barlev for his comments. 

“Settlers in Judea and Samaria have suffered daily from violence and terrorism for decades,” Bennett tweeted. “They serve as a protective wall for all of us and we must protect them in word and a deed. There are marginal elements in every society and they need to be addressed by all means, but we must not generalize an entire population.”

Religious Zionism party chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich tweeted, “Hundreds of thousands of heroic settlers suffer terrorism daily and pay dearly in blood and you despicably spill their blood and take part in a false and antisemitic campaign that slanders them.” 

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked came to the defense of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria:

“The settlers are the salt of the earth,” she wrote on Twitter. “The violence that one needs to be shocked by is the dozens of cases of the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails at Jews that occur every day, just because they are Jews, and all this with the encouragement and support of the Palestinian Authority.

“I recommend you talk about this violence with Mrs. Nuland,” Shaked added.

Minister of Religious Services Matan Kahana (Yamina) called for Barlev to retract his statements.

“It’s sad to see a security man with many years of experience accept such a false and distorted narrative,” Kahana said. “The settlers in Judea and Samaria are not violent but pioneers.”

Gaby Lasky, MK for the extreme leftist Meretz party, tweeted out, “I don’t know if settlers have the right to vote since they live outside of Israel.”

Barlev responded enigmatically:

“I understand that it is really difficult for some of you who put a mirror in front of your face that extremist settler violence crosses the world and foreign governments are interested in the issue. I recommend those who have a hard time drink a glass of water. I will continue to fight Palestinian terrorism as if there is no extremist settler violence – and by extremist settler violence as if there is no Palestinian terrorism,” Barlev tweeted Tuesday morning.