Photo Credit: Miriam Alster / Flash 90
Jewish women being forcibly evicted by the IDF from their home in Hebron, December 4, 2008.

Following the campaign in Israel, Europe, and the US to condemn “settler violence” during the months of Operation Iron Swords, right-wing MKs are demanding to hold a debate on the subject and compel IDF representatives to reveal the sources of data that were published recently and apply a very broad brush to include many disparate events in the same category.

For example, graffiti by Jewish settlers and Arab attempts to lynch Jews are included under the same heading of “serious attacks.” Events are often recorded from a point well into their progression, without a clear depiction of whether the incident was initiated by Jews or Arabs, or whether the Jews acted in self-defense.


In general, law enforcement officials tend to create symmetry in the violence perpetrated by Arabs and Jews, when in reality there is no equality in the number of terrorist incidents, and who initiates the first blow. To get those “equal” figures, the record keepers classify graffiti by Jews as violence, while the only recorded violent incidents perpetrated by Arabs are those with physical victims.

The most serious problem in this area stems from contradictory information that’s being provided by different law enforcement agencies. The Israel Police has been consistently showing a dramatic drop of more than 50% in nationalist crime by Jewish settlers, but the Shin Bet and the IDF are offering vastly different statistics, and none of these agencies makes an attempt to compare and synchronize the data.

As a result, different news outlets in Israel have been known to report a drastic reduction in “settler violence” concurrent with reports on a drastic rise in the same phenomenon, often in the same week. Those reports are more often than not based on partial, not to say cherry-picked data, serving political agendas rather than a serious pursuit of the truth.

International news outlets such as the NY Times and ABC News go one step further and publish data provided by anti-Israel entities such as B’Tselem on “settler terrorism,” with yawning gaps between those reported and reality on the ground.

MKs Amit Halevi (Likud), Limor Sonn Har Melech (Otzma Yehudit), Hanoch Milwidsky (Likud), Zvi Sukkot (Religious Zionism), Boaz Bismuth (Likud), Nissim Vaturi (Likud), and Israel Eichler (UTJ), recently issued a statement saying, “It has been published that there is an internal IDF document describing 201 incidents of nationalistic crimes by Jews in Judea and Samaria. This document, if it exists, serves the campaign depicting settler violence which is promoted by elements in Israel and around the world.”

The CEO of Regavim, Meir Deutsch, whose group monitors illegal Arab activities in Judea and Samaria, asked on Monday, “What is being hidden from us and whom does it serve?”

“Left-wing anti-Israel organizations are operating in the information vacuum that was created by the State of Israel, spreading false information and fostering an antisemitic campaign about ‘settler violence,’ which is intended to delegitimize the defense operations of the IDF in Judea and Samaria and in general,” said Deutch.

“The government of Israel must realize that the battle for global awareness is critical at this time, and a situation in which partial and generalized data are being leaked to the media, making it impossible to distinguish between Jewish graffiti and Arab murder, is causing lethal harm to the State of Israel,” he added.

“Throughout the period since the start of the war, we have demanded to see the documentation of the reported violent events so we could deal with the phenomenon but have received nothing,” Deutsch said. “We congratulate the MKs who joined our demand and hope that the security establishment will respond soon.”


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