Matthew Duss writes: The American approach to peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians has tended to prioritize different concerns for either side. For the Israelis, the focus is usually on security, for the Palestinians, sovereignty. But a recent episode in the West Bank highlights the need for greater attention to Palestinian security needs in the context of continuing Israeli occupation.
On January 7, a group of Israeli settlers from the outpost of Esh Kodesh approached the nearby village of Qusra, allegedly for the purpose of carrying out a “price tag” attack. “Price tag” is the term for acts of settler vandalism and violence against Palestinian persons and property carried out specifically in response to Israeli government acts against settlement expansion, with the goal being to raise the political price of moving against settlements. (In this case, the offending action was the Israeli army’s destruction of an agricultural plot near the Esh Kodesh outpost.)
According to an eyewitness report, the settlers began attacking Palestinian villagers and attempting to uproot olive trees in the fields lying between their village and the settlement. A smaller group of settlers proceeded into the village, where they fought with villagers, and were chased and cornered in the upper floor of an unfinished house. Local elders prevented further violence until the Israeli army arrived to take the settlers away. [Continue reading…]