I don’t have much to add to the coverage of the recent egregious incident of settler violence beyond what has been reported in Al Jazeera, Hareetz and the New York Times. As for what happened and how it’s being represented, you can read that on your own. But I will say this – that it seems matters have come to a crux, when even an Israeli newspaper writes
Those who demand that the Palestinian Authority take decisive action against Palestinian terrorist groups must demonstrate the same degree of decisiveness against groups of Jewish terrorists.
it can no longer be said that the hypocricy of Israel’s status quo lies silent. Settler violence and settlement expansion is everyday, it is the zero level of everydayness in Palestine. But, of course, this is contingent on it not reaching a critical measure which would push it out of the everyday into the un-deniable. And perhaps that’s what has happened here – when IDF soldiers stand by as a settler drops to his knee and shoots a Palestinian with live fire (I’ve heard it was in the head), and then the IDF responds by saying it was self-defence, well, I’m inclined to say the jig is up. This isn’t self defence – it’s brutal, racist, colonial violence. And it’s fully supported, although certainly in a quiet non-confrontational way, by Israeli state institutions.
It must be understood that Israel is much more racist than Israelis because Israel is an institution and Israelis are individuals – whereas the racism of individuals rests at the level of sentiment, the racism of a colonial institution rests at the level of communal norms and conditions for shared projects. And it is much more difficult to dismantle, and it corrupts and entraps individuals within its complex of social pressures.
This incident represents, although I’m probably the only one who will say this, the problem with the two-state settlement. The problem is that it assumes Israeli institutions can remain essentially the same, that they need not undergo a revolutionary period of transitional justice to purge the state institutions of the mechanisms of everydayness that turn Israelis into breakers of international law, into those who aquiesce and participate in brutal acts of repression of an indigenous population. It assumes that the Palestinians living in Israel will somehow be ok living in an increasingly theocratic state. if the two-state settlement occurs it will have taught Israeli institution that repression and colonization works, that you can in fact surpress anti-colonial movements with force, and you can in fact continue to colonize indigenous land and the result, while not full victory, is a better deal for you in the end. And what will the Israeli military attitude be towards the Palestinian state? One of normalized violence most likely, one in which the racial superiority instituted in the IDF remains the norm, one in which Israel will re-inscribe the “failure” to gain all the land as the “success” at solving the “demographic problem”. But the demographic “problem” is only a problem for racists, for people who judge membership in a community by skin colour or what church you attend. The demographic problem is not a problem in Israel anymore than the increasing US proportion of hispanics is a problem for the US – it is a problem only if you are a fascist and you insist on one “superior” community dominating over others in your country.