I am appalled at the violence and impunity. I cannot, however, say that I am surprised. Just the other week, 100 former IDF combat soldiers called on the Defense Minister to do more to deter settler violence. “Settler violence has been raging for years,” they wrote, “and is being answered with tacit support.”
I share their frustration and anger. When it comes to violence in the West Bank, impunity is the norm, justice the rare exception. Only one investigation is underway into only one of the May 14 killings, and it only came following public pressure.
As abhorrent as this case is, it is also just the sharpest edge of a systemic problem. This type of violence and injustice will always be present within a system that maintains indefinite military control over millions of non-citizens who are denied civil rights and access to justice. This system destroys lives, violates our values and is corrosive to our shared vision of a just, democratic homeland for the Jewish people.
The Israeli government has sent generations of young Israelis to the front lines of this unjust occupation. We have been too ready to ask them to put their lives on the line to defend unlawful settlements. Too often, we have asked them to act as private security for individuals bent on carrying out violent, ideological extremism.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction