The surging violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two weeks before Israel’s general elections, is not only a tragedy, but also a cause for serious political concern.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on all stakeholders, including the Biden administration, to do their utmost to lower the flames and stop the violence to prevent further bloodshed and destruction.
The current flareup is characterized by provocative settler violence. In various hotspots in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, settlers have been brutalizing Palestinians, damaging their property, burning cars and blocking vital transportation routes. Settler provocations have become a staple of Jewish holidays. Young settlers are off school and their parents on holiday break. The result is an increase in organized violent action.
However, the timing of the recent settlers’ provocations is clearly related to the upcoming November 1st elections. Settler leaders are challenging the outgoing government – they are explicitly saying so – apparently in hope that the sense of insecurity among the Israeli public would impact the election results. From the experience of past election rounds, the ideologically motivated settlers know that violence serves their electoral interests. Violence serves the extremists. It does not serve the cause of peace.
APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “The scenes on the streets of the West Bank cities and on the streets of East Jerusalem are chaotic and brutal. Israel must end the free rein of violent settlers. The Palestinians should refrain from violence. And the Biden administration has a critical role to play. it is long past time for the administration to shift from managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to working to end it.”