The settler movement that has a de facto veto on Netanyahu is flexing its muscles. You want images of youths throwing stones? It's no longer just Palestinians; it's settlers, aided and abetted by the IDF (now being turned on by the settlers as well) and Netanyahu. Haaretz tells it like it is:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn what happened yesterday and to convene consultations. But it is a belated and hypocritical response. He and the heads of the military establishment know full that settlers routinely run riot in the West Bank with impunity. Those who did nothing when mosques were torched are now reaping attacks on the army. And those who stay silent now will reap attacks on Jews within Israel.
The government must immediately authorize a forceful and determined operation to stop Jewish terror in the West Bank. It must break the armed militias and impose law and order. For it is not the settlers alone who bear responsibility for the lawlessness: The prime minister and the heads of the military establishment are also responsible.
It's vital to understand what is going on here. We have an axis not between Washington and Jerusalem as a whole, but between US Christianists and Jewish fundamentalists intent on claiming for ever the Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria. They both want permanent annexation and a war on Iran. They control the government in Israel and the major opposition party in the United States. And the two likeliest Republican nominees are far more supportive of a foreign prime minister than their own president. Gingrich's settler enthusiasm and contempt for the Palestinians is bad enough. But in my view, Romney is worse. Tom Friedman rightly notes that Romney
told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because “I don’t seek to take actions independent of what our allies think is best, and if Israel’s leaders thought that a move of that nature would be helpful to their efforts, then that’s something I’ll be inclined to do. … I don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process. Instead, we should stand by our ally.”
That’s right. America’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy’s running for president?
He sure is. And his support for a foreign prime minister over his own president is one reason he has a chance. Not because of Jewish voters – but Christianist ones.
(Photo: A Palestinian man inspects damage to a mosque in the West Bank village of Bruqin near Nablus on December 7, 2011 after unknown attackers, believed by Palestinian residents to be Jewish settlers, scrawled anti-Arab graffiti on the walls and tried to set the mosque on fire. By Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images.)