‘Day of reckoning’ settlers who attacked IDF base have friends in gov’t

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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The five right wing activists (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

What started out as a brazen attack by extreme rightwing Jewish zealots on a military base last month is turning into a full-on extravaganza. Going well beyond the ‘hilltop youth’, it now involves the government. There are reports of the infiltration of Israeli military intelligence, the tracking of Israeli army movements via intelligence contacts, and the possible involvement of at least two Israeli MK’s

Thus far five Israeli rightwing extremists (above, photo from Ynet) have been indicted for the attack on the base near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. The purpose of the attack was to deter the dismantling of an illegal outpost to the settlement Yitzhar, an outpost the GOI intended to evacuate the night of December 12, that is, until the plan was deterred by the attack. Yitzhar is home to Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva (who “explicitly called for operations like the arson at the Yasouf mosque”). Yitzhar itself is a legit colony, in the eyes of the state; it is included in the National Priorities Map and generously funded by the GOI.


An indictment filed on Sunday against five right wing activists reveals their organized modus operandi that is based on a communications system that streamed information via text messages from the defense forces, politicians and those in the know to the people in the field.

The five defendants – Akiva HaCohen, elad Meir, Epraim Chaykin, Meir Etinger and David Eliyahu – are accused of gathering military intelligence, reports of troop movements in the West Bank, conspiracy to riot, entering a closed military zone and deceiving a public figure.

This is the same gang. So where’s the investigation? Haaretz

The indictment applies to members of a gang who carry out attacks on mosques and Palestinian property, Shin Bet security service officials and police investigators suspect. The indictment’s review of the systematic fashion in which right-wing zealots monitor Israel Defense Forces and police preparations to evacuate illegal settlement outposts is worrisome, as is the description of the scope of the extremist right-wing group’s influence on the West Bank.

Haaretz juxtaposes the treatment afforded to the rightwing extremist to the prosecution of Anat Kam, who leaked classified military documents to Haaretz regarding assassinations of Palestinian militants in the West Bank (note Alex’s references to Uri Blau).

There are startling differences between the seriousness with which the GOI investigates leaking classified information when it involves Palestinians and when it involves settlers. In the settlers’ case, they are all through IDF units– sometimes  referenced as Yesha Council of settlements’ “special forces.”

More from Haaretz:

On Sunday, for the first time, the state exposed problems it faces defending classified information against encroachments perpetrated by the political right. That sensitive IDF information is readily available to West Bank settlers is well known; but when such sensitive data fall into the hands of extremists …. the problem of keeping secret information under wraps seems more urgent.

In order to closely monitor IDF preparation for the evacuation of settlement outposts, right-wing activists maintain close contacts with a large number of sources from IDF units. Revelations in this indictment explain why Brigadier General Nitzan Alon, who is designated to be the IDF’s central region commander, has recommended that soldiers who have clear ideological affiliations be kept at some remove from classified information regarding outpost evacuation. ….

Why the Military Police have not formally launched an investigation into the leaks remains unclear.

MK Uri Ariel Photo by: Tess Scheflan / Jini

Unclear? Well, maybe because doing so would entail investigating two Israeli MK’s who have admitted giving extremists information on IDF movements as well as probing those IDF units affiliated with the settler movement. That shouldn’t be to hard to figure out.

They could start with Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin and then National Union MK Uri Ariel:

“If a person who transfers information about IDF movements is a spy, then I am a spy,” Ariel said during a discussion on law enforcement in the settlements. “If others were arrested, I should be arrested as well.” 

This is all part and parcel of what Yossi Gurvitz calls the political arm of Jewish Terrorism. The ‘bring it on’ eagerness of many of these fanatics (we’ve written about them before ) is reflected in their talk of civil war–or what the recently indicted call the ‘day for reckoning‘.

They are upfront about advocating an end to democracy, and these MK’s are aligned with them.  That ‘democracy’ is becoming more and more illusory all the time.


Now, Elkin is obviously not a spy, just as the “price tag” people who gathered information on the army’s activities aren’t. The question whether Elkin is a traitor, however – in the moral sense of the word, not, naturally, the legal one – is more complicated. Elkin took an oath to maintain “loyalty to the State of Israel and to faithfully execute [his] calling in the Knesset.” When he gave information to the “price tag” people, which was supposed to derail military activity ordered by the lawful government, did he commit treason, or not? Let’s just say that Elkin is lucky to be a Jew and not an Arab; Otherwise the Knesset would already be discussing the removal of his immunity. As he is a Jew, it’ll be a surprise if even the Ethics Committee bothers itself with his perfidy.

Needless to say, No Palestinian or Palestinian Israeli MK would be afforded such intransigence over their loyalty. They’d be jailed, assassinated or in hiding somewhere in Lebanon for crossing a red line. The hypocrisy is astounding.

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The five right wing activists (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

(Hat tip Paul Mutter)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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10 Responses

  1. Les
    January 9, 2012, 7:17 pm

    Speaking of friends in government, here’s from a comment in Common Dreams regarding Iran.

    “… given the fact that USrael is constantly threatening it with invasion.”

    That such a country as USrael has come into existence is a tribute to the power of our media.

  2. dumvitaestspesest
    January 9, 2012, 8:35 pm

    here is a very interesting “incident”.
    Imagine, just imagine…. what would happen if the situation were reversed???
    There would be an outrage from here to eternity.

  3. chocopie
    January 10, 2012, 4:10 am

    Obviously they’re quaking in their boots at the prospect of Israeli “justice.”

  4. seafoid
    January 10, 2012, 4:46 am

    There are startling differences between the seriousness with which the GOI investigates leaking classified information when it involves Palestinians and when it involves settlers.

    Settlers have power and Palestinians don’t. Say Israel is a tree. The settlers are ivy.
    There is too much ivy on the tree now.

  5. Shmuel
    January 10, 2012, 5:15 am

    Haaretz juxtaposes the treatment afforded to the rightwing extremist to the prosecution of Anat Kam

    Or Tali Fahima – convicted for having translated a map for a Palestinian who knew Hebrew anyway; or Mordechai Vanunu – who revealed the terrible and shocking secret that Israel possesses nuclear capability.

  6. teta mother me
    January 10, 2012, 11:21 am

    thanks for this informative post, Annie.
    just got an email blast from the J Street group in my corner of the sandbox, announcing a discussion of Settler Violence.

    The announcement suggested these readings:

    ANALYSIS / The extreme right has sought to establish a ‘balance of terror’, by Amos Harel, Ha’aretz http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=MDnzq89D%2Bd4pySHNgviloSYQoFGUh8Cr

    The Monster Rebels against Its Master, by Gershom Gorenberg, The American Prospect http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=vW8oTF1IQUKbuUSu6MLI7hzaHFf%2Bz2uh

    Netanyahu’s ‘Alignment’ of Law in Territories, by Bernard Avishai

    They are not “anarchists”, by Yariv Oppenheimer

    Analysis: Jewish terrorism gaining steam, by Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post

    The last title was particularly surprising — “Jewish Terrorism” wow

  7. teta mother me
    January 10, 2012, 11:44 am

    head smack moment —
    Increasing settler violence; mainstream Israeli journalists attaching label, “Jewish terrorists.”
    Mainstream American Jewish organizations concerned enough about possibility of civil war in Israel to convene conference on the topic
    US troops “in unprecedented numbers” drill with deploy to Israel


    US military positioned to quell possible Jewish civil war in Israel.

  8. Elliot
    January 10, 2012, 12:57 pm

    I’ve been away too long…looks like we now have an acronym that is so mainstream that it needs no explanation.
    From the context I think I’ve figured it out. GOI = Government of Israel.
    Funded by GUS, at loggerheads with GUT over the Boats to Gaza and trying to thwart their neighbors, GUP.

    • Elliot
      January 10, 2012, 1:32 pm

      …of course that’s GOT and GOP (no, the other one).

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