There is much global discussion of what will happen “the day after” the Israel-Hamas war. It is clear that the international establishment wants a new Palestinian union of the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, eventually resulting in a Palestinian state.
Given Palestinian demands, this would entail the deportation of around half a million Jews from Judea and Samaria. To justify such a mass expulsion, the public must be convinced that the Jewish “settlers” of these areas are unworthy of compassion or empathy. They must be seen only as an obstacle to peace that must be removed.
This is the likely reason behind the growing obsession with an alleged wave of “settler violence” against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. Unfortunately for the obsessives, this wave does not exist. The obsessives likely know this. The accusations are made as part of a targeted defamation campaign against an entire population. The goal is to drive a wedge between this population and the rest of the Israeli public as preparation for the settlers’ eventual expulsion.
Mere days after the horrific Oct. 7 massacre, the anti-settler organization Yesh Din claimed that “under the auspices of the war and the atrocities in the south—and far from the public eye—Israeli soldiers and settlers are acting with deadly violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.” Not long after, the pro-Palestinian NGO B’Tselem also denounced “settler violence.” This was not the first time these organizations have engaged in such rhetoric. They also did so immediately after Operation Guardian of the Walls in 2021.
But police data reveals that their claims are fabrications. On Nov. 9, the Police Operations Division presented the commissioner of the Israel Police with a document that showed incidents of nationalist crime in Judea and Samaria had decreased in Oct. 2023 compared to the previous year.
This is not the first time accusations of “settler violence” have collided with reality. During Guardian of the Walls, organizations like Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem and dozens of other far-left groups led a public campaign against “settler violence” that included billboards, signs on buses, intense activity on public TV networks and in the Knesset.
The reality, however, was that the real rise in violence in Judea and Samaria was from the Palestinians. Over 6,000 terror or terror-related incidents were counted that year.
After the 2021 anti-settler publicity campaign, it was revealed that Breaking the Silence has received nearly a quarter of a million shekels from the E.U. to finance the campaign. In the first quarter of 2020, B’Tselem received NIS 233,000 for the same purposes. In the last quarter of 2021 it received another NIS 267,000, along with NIS 741,000 from the Norwegian embassy for documentation and research projects regarding the settlements.
As was said during the Watergate scandal: follow the money. Europe, which has always opposed the Zionist enterprise in Judea and Samaria, has been funding legal propaganda and Palestinian-settlement projects in order to stifle Jewish life in the area.
Since Oct. 7, this campaign has come out of the closet. This week, E.U. Foreign Minister Joseph Burrell announced that he would pressure member states “to impose sanctions on extremist settlers who practice violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.” Almost simultaneously, an E.U. delegation visited the Palestinian village of Hawara, where the representatives spoke against Israel and stated that “the settlements are illegal according to international law and are a major obstacle to the establishment of a future Palestinian state.”
Many government officials in the U.S. agree with their European counterparts on this issue. Over the last decade, the U.S. has transferred over NIS 70 million to extreme leftist organizations including B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights, Ir Amim, Doctors for Human Rights and more. Among the donors were the U.S. embassy in Israel, the State Department, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and USAID. Last week, this campaign resulted in actual sanctions on “extremist settlers” allegedly involved in violence against Palestinians.
There are many disagreements within Israeli society that must be put aside for now, if only to stay focused on the nation’s main goal of victory. But imagined “settler violence” is not one of them. The Israeli public must reject and repudiate the daily manipulation and lies imposed on Israel by foreign powers and foreign money. On the political level, Israel must pressure the Europeans and the Americans not to fund organizations that seek to demonize the Jews of Judea and Samaria.
Historically, the Europeans have often used a divide and conquer strategy, turning peoples against each other to serve European purposes. The damage the Europeans caused as a result was so great that to this day it spills rivers of blood. It happened in Africa, India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and many other places where European imperialism was active.
Instead of giving in to this centuries-old strategy, Israel should stand up for herself and remind the world that it is a sovereign state. It is her duty to do so.