The Words of the Wilson Family

Security must be shared

Andrew Wilson
October 22, 2010

Brothers and sisters,

On the Palestinian news sites, one can read almost every day about incidents where settlers vandalize or harass Palestinian civilians. There is no indication that these settler hooligans are ever brought to justice.

"Also on Friday, a group of Israeli settlers stormed the village of Kufer Qaduom in the northern West Bank. Settlers vandalized farmers' property and wrote slogans on residents' homes, telling them to leave or be killed."

Nablus -- PNN -- The Nablus governorate chief spokesman denounced this morning's burning of a storeroom at Al-Sawiya Secondary Girls' School in southwest Nablus by settlers as a "criminal assault." The storeroom contained furniture and school supplies.

The settlers didn't just burn the storeroom, the spokesman noted, but they also wrote racist slogans on the wall of the school, including "Hill People," the name of a settler terrorist group in Nablus. Major General Jabrin Bakri condemned the attack as the act of an aggressive mastermind working as part of a settler terrorist plot to destabilize the region and create an atmosphere of violence and fear among Palestinian citizens.

Bakri said that if it weren't for unlimited political support the settlers received from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, recent escalation would have ceased. He pointed to the rise in aggressive actions by settlers -- despite warnings from the Palestinian Authority -- and said it creates big questions about the role of the Israeli army. As crimes like mosque and school burnings increase without any sign of their perpetrators being brought to justice, he said, the army must be either complicit or negligent, and not fulfilling it supposed duty to protect the citizens under its authority.

Bakri concluded by saying that in light of continued settler assaults, Palestinians have been led to believe that Israel is an occupation state with no regard for human rights laws or the Fourth Geneva Convention. There is no alternative, he said, than to go immediately before the Security Council and ask for Palestinian lands to be put under international control so as to protect Palestinian citizens from the outrageous assaults of settlers.

These incidents point up the need for genuine security cooperation between the IDF and Palestinian police to arrest and punish criminals regardless of which side they are on. Such security cooperation will be essential to create the mutual confidence for a "warm peace" in which Israelis and Palestinians are able to live and work side-by-side.

Developing shared security against Hamas operatives seems to have already begun, with Palestinian authorities arresting Hamas leaders in the West Bank, but such arrests are also to the benefit of the Palestinian Authority, which regards Hamas as its enemy. Now we have to challenge the politicians and security leaders on both sides to rise above self interest to a Principled view of doing what is right. When that happens, then the IDF will want to work with the Palestinian police to curb terroristic acts on the Israeli right as well.

There will be many advantages to shared security, not least for creating the conditions for freer travel of Palestinian citizens in and out of Jerusalem or between neighborhoods in Jerusalem--an essential condition for creating a multicultural city that respects the life and property of all.


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