Jewish terrorism?

The Miami Herald has an article about the increasing attacks by radical right-wing settlers against the state of Israel.

YITZHAR, Israel — A young man calling himself Yehudi Tzadik – “righteous Jew” – picked up a rock and rolled it around in his hand, as if considering pitching it at a police car parked nearby.

Within sight was a mosque in Jerusalem that was torched and defamed Wednesday with graffiti that included, “Death to Arabs.” Tzadik claimed he knew some of the group that was responsible for the attack, though he added that he wasn’t there when it happened.

“The state of Israel has lost its moral code. It has forgotten what is at the heart of the Jewish nation. … We are reminding them,” said Tzadik, who gave his real name only as David.

A spate of attacks last week by Jewish right-wing extremists has called into question Israel’s definition of the word “terrorist,” and has prompted security officials to acknowledge the separate rules of engagement they’ve created for Jews and Palestinians.

People like David attacked an IDF base and an IDF commander last week. The commander was injured, and the base was vandalized, but no one has yet been killed by these “hilltop youth.” I fear that eventually, in the not too distant future, these “youth” will be taking up arms against the IDF, in addition to their campaign of intimidation and violence against Palestinians. In that case, the government will have to decide whether to treat these rebels like terrorists, as they would treat Palestinians who behaved in the same way. A government has to have a monopoly on the means of force – that’s what the Israeli government did after the declaration of the state in May 1948. The Etzel and Lehi militias had to disband and join the IDF. If a government doesn’t have the fortitude to enforce its monopoly, either because of military weakness or an ideologically-based inability to oppose the creation of militias that oppose its military, then it is opening the way to civil war.

See Jeffrey Goldberg’s comments on the extremist settlers.

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