As Israel dismantles the Migron outpost, a new report on settler violence and outposts is issued by the UNESCO Chair of Human Rights at Al Najah National University and the Alternative Information Center (AIC).
Outposts and Price Tag Violence: A Blow Upon a Bruise presents outpost-related events, including ‘price tag’ violence, as the logical continuation of the Israeli settlement enterprise and an important weathervane of Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Since the 1990s, when Israel officially pledged to stop construction of new settlements, it has tacitly permitted and often overtly assisted the establishment of over 100 outposts and since 2008, ‘price tag’ violence has emerged as a settler response to potential outpost demolitions by the Israeli government.
Since June 2008 there have been over 60 verified ‘price tag’ attacks that have targeted 110 communities, of which 25 featured religious slurs or desecration, including 9 cases of mosque arson."
Outposts and ‘price tag’ violence are rooted in disrespect for international and Israeli law by Israeli government authorities and settlers alike. In addition, Israeli public officials and government institutions are involved in planning and constructing the outposts, to which millions of dollars in public funds are channeled. Since March 2011 the official Israeli policy is to “legalize” the outposts.
Moreover the report claims that outpost demolitions only convey the semblance of law enforcement. Between 1997 and 2007, the Israeli Civil Administration executed only 3 per cent of the outstanding demolition orders against illegal Israeli construction in the oPt; usually only “dummy” outposts are targeted, which are rebuilt the next day.
The report also claims that price tag attacks might trigger Palestinian counter-attacks, which could destabilize the Israeli government. Subsequent government fears of further ‘price tag’ attacks, the logic goes, will coerce the Israeli government into not demolishing outposts.