Coming soon: Sanctions against 'settlers' from Tel Aviv, Lod and Nof HaGalil

Opinion: A 'settler violence campaign' promoted by the sanctioning of settlers by the US, France, the UK and others is part of a deliberate propaganda machine with a very tangible goal, which is to legitimize a Palestinian state

Dr. Ruth Kabessa Abramzon|
In a well-timed move, the United States, Britain and France, separately, imposed economic sanctions on four Israeli citizens living beyond the Green Line. The sanctions were imposed as part of the campaign against “settler violence.”
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This campaign might be ramped up a notch sometime soon, once the 60 days the Israeli government was given to respond to the allegations of soldier brutality in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, expire. Before they too, our IDF soldiers that were fulfilling their duties, become subject to sanctions.
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 מתנחלים שרפו מספר רכבים של תושבי חווארה
 מתנחלים שרפו מספר רכבים של תושבי חווארה
Cars allegedly set on fire by settlers in the West Bank village of Huwara earlier this month
Newsmen Kalman Liebeskind in Maariv, and Ariel Kahane in Israel Today, exposed the lie underpinning the campaign and refuted the claims on which it stands, to the extent that the IDF itself retracted some of the things it had said. It’s not that there is never any anti-Arab violence perpetrated by Jewish settlers. It’s just that the facts fall far short of what is being reported. The incidents are investigated with prejudice and get classified erroneously - falsely, and that “worrying escalation” we are hearing about is a total fallacy.
We must, therefore, ask ourselves: If the campaign is based on distortions and lies, how is it that not only does it not get taken off the air, but instead the opposite happens – it continues to be parroted by media reports and “expressions of concern” on the part of American and European officials?
The roots of the “settler violence campaign” are described succinctly in the book written by former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Dr. Michael Oren. The book, titled "Ally: My Journey Across The American-Israeli Divide," focuses on Oren’s tenure as ambassador under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barak Obama.
Oren describes how the 2011 murder of the Fogel family was received with shock and fear among Americans. The White House sharply condemned the murder. But, as in the case of the October 7 events, this shock wore off soon enough.
The community in the West Bank town of Itamar, being right-wing and religious, writes Oren, had been identified with the “settler violence campaign.” The settlements, which are regarded as “illegitimate” by the Obama administration, and which are held to be illegal by the United Nations, were perceived by broad swathes of international organizations to be fair game for attack.
Oren tells how he expressed his concerns to his advisors in the embassy. Concerns that the entire settlement population had undergone a “Fogelization," and had been stigmatized as “occupiers that deserve what they get.” Oren’s fear was that Israel’s entire population might gradually undergo “Fogelization,” and would come to be perceived as “deserving the rockets being fired at it."
This fear might have sounded far-fetched back in 2011, but just 13 years later every Israeli citizen found out that this fear was far from being unfounded.
Obama’s belated response to the massacre, three whole days after October 7, already included a reference to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. "We must keep striving for a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike," he wrote.
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ברק אובמה
ברק אובמה
Barak Obama
(Photo: AP)
A month later he summed up the concept quite lucidly on a podcast. "What Hamas did was horrific, and there’s no justification for it,” said the former boss of most of President Joe Biden’s administration, and the man that brought the “Arab Spring” to the Middle East. And, he stressed: "What is also true is that the occupation and what’s happening to Palestinians is unbearable."
There are those who hear, in this statement, the precursors of the Hamas-progressive propaganda strategy to the tune that “Gaza is an open-air prison,” and some would draw a straight line between this concept and the concept that “Palestinian resistance is left with no other option."
It also seems that, to the former president’s chagrin, Israel and the Jewish people are too preoccupied with perpetuating the lessons from the Holocaust and with viewing the videos of the October 7 horrors, therefore "we will not stop those (Palestinian) kids from dying."
What was it Mohammed Darawsha told Channel 14’s newsman Yishai Friedman? “The religious Zionism... is dripping an ideological drug throughout the country.” Except that now it’s not just the religious Zionists. Just as Oren foresaw, it’s anyone seeking to remember the October 7 events and draw actionable conclusions from them.
If anyone concludes from what I’m saying that this is merely a cognitive war, they’re wrong. This is deliberate propaganda with a very tangible goal, which is to legitimize a Palestinian state throughout the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which will involve evacuation of Jews from their homes. Once again.
There is a deliberate propaganda campaign with a very tangible goal, which is to legitimize a Palestinian state
Quite clearly in order to realize such a hallucinatory scenario, extensive cognitive priming is required, and this is taking place by means of two strategies.
One strategy is that of “incrimination.” A tried and true strategy. It’s been working for years already. There are two target audiences for this strategy. One strategy, the Israeli incrimination of the settler population through a “settler violence campaign,” is intended to make the Israeli public forget that these settlers are the first line of defense for Kfar Saba, the Sharon Plain and the entire center of the country.
The expected cognitive illusion is agreement to “sacrifice” the “problem settlers," while deluding ourselves that, with this, all our problems will be solved. In addition, the international community, which is expected to support ever-increasing measures against Israel and its citizens.
The second strategy is the strategy of “silencing,” and for this we are seeing the sanctions currently being applied. As former U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, wrote yesterday, the terms of the American sanctions apply to any Israeli who is opposed to a Palestinian state.
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דייוויד פרידמן שגריר ארצות הברית
דייוויד פרידמן שגריר ארצות הברית
Former U.S. ambassador David Freidman
(Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
I repeat, e v e r y Israeli. At the moment this accounts for 80% of Israel’s population, says Friedman. In other words, by writing this column I might be falling into the sanctions trap, as might every dinner table conversation and every newsroom utterance.
This affects not only the matter of free speech, it also means individual control over the actions of each and every Israeli, obviating Israel's sovereignty and it's judicial system. Did you assemble outside Arab student dormitories in Netanya in a manner they construed to be threatening? Did you demonstrate against your neighbors in Nof HaGalil and did they contemplate moving away? Have you hung an Israel flag from your balcony in Tel Aviv’s Bavli neighborhood and hurt someone’s feelings?
There’s no way to be sure you haven’t crossed the line or, as Friedman put it: “Anyone who the State Department feels is hostile to the creation of a Palestinian terror state could wake up morning and find his funds frozen at his local bank!”
Dr. Ruth Kabessa AbramzonDr. Ruth Kabessa AbramzonPhoto: Sharon Gabay
What is most outrageous is that there are those inside Israel who, by design or by ignorance, go along with this campaign. Never mind that these are ignorant private individuals writing things like “let the Americans do our work for us,” not realizing that the joke is entirely on them.
But when the Commander of the Central Command conducts a “kidnapping” maneuver where the kidnappers are settlers or, as Boaz Golan reported on Channel 14 and on 0404, if the IDF Spokesman anonymously briefs against “settler violence,” thereby stimulating the media reports disproportionally –well, such a case amounts to moral bankruptcy, it’s part of a misguided, distorted concept. It leads us all down the path to “Fogelization,” whether this be in Judea and Samaria, in the Gaza Envelope, in the Galilee and Golan, or in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
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תרגיל פיקוד מרכז צה"ל מתנחלים יהודים חטיפה חטיפת פלסטיני
תרגיל פיקוד מרכז צה"ל מתנחלים יהודים חטיפה חטיפת פלסטיני
IDF simulation of settlers abducting Palestinians
Our decision-makers have got to come to their senses immediately. They must understand that the “settler violence campaign,” which has been waged for over a decade against Israel, sometimes with insider help, has got to be stopped immediately. We have to direct all our outreach resources to undermining the “inner logic” of this campaign. Politicians, military men and Israeli media should under no circumstances entertain it. If we fail to make a steadfast stand, we are going to find that (once again) our blood is fair game, and that (once again) this has come to pass with active support from our very selves.
One final anecdote: In his book, Michael Oren tells how he was shocked when President Obama refused to make a comparison between Hamas and al Qaeda. I wonder if he accepts the parallel between Hamas and the Nazis?
  • The writer is a member of The Israel Defense and Security Forum, A Zionist activist, Social entrepreneur, and media personality
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