(Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin)
In a candid statement meant to be heard only by those attending a weekly meeting of the Israeli Cabinet, Shin Bet spy chief Yuval Diskin has acknowledged serious concern about violent Jewish settler extremists trying to assassinate Israeli political leaders and willing “to use firearms in order to halt diplomatic processes.”
The assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir, has acquired star status among many extremist settlers and security authorities in Israel are worried about attempts to generate violence linked to the November 4th anniversary of Rabin’s murder.
This raises the question of why Israel and the United States don’t work to classify factions of settler extremists — organizing to propogate violence — as terror organizations or terror-supporting individuals.
Such classification of these groups and/or individuals would allow the freezing of their financial assets in the United States and would create penalties for those who aided and abetted in their violence. Some very wealthy Americans are financing some of the expansionist settler activity in occupied Palestinian territories — and creating penalties for this assistance could be one way of squelching the violent dimensions of settler activity.
Such classification of violent settler extremists in Israel as terrorists would give both the Israeli and U.S. governments tools that will help protect Israel’s political leadership from tactics of intimidation and violence and would help to generate a new equilibrium in the region that satisfies both Israel’s legitimate security needs and the imperative of a viable Palestinian state.
– Steve Clemons