Here is the video:
Footage filmed by Jamal Abu-Sa'ifan, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, documented a terrorist Israeli settler shooting two members of his family.
The shootings followed the eviction of Israeli settlers from a Palestinian house they had occupied in Hebron. Settlers attacked the nearby house of the Abu-Se'ifan family. During ensuing clashes, a settler fired his handgun at Hosni and his father 'Abd al-Hai. The son was hit the chest and the father was wounded in the arm. Other members of the family managed to overcome the shooter and the two injured men were taken to a Hebron hospital. But a short while later more terrorist-settlers from the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba arrive at the scene and fire their guns at the Palestinian family.
I mentioned that the video was disturbingly familiar to me. I had seen it all before in a movie that had terrified me as a young child.
What happened outside Hebron -- to my mind at least -- resembled a scene right out of the Planet of the Apes. In the post-apocalyptic 1968 movie, a master race of apes leave their protected compounds from time to time to go on hunting expeditions. The privileged apes shoot at communities of humans reduced to a primitive existance. They burn the humans' simple houses to the ground.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the settler violence near Hebron as "A pogrom. This isn't a play on words or a double meaning. It is a pogrom in the worst sense of the word. First the masked men set fire to their laundry in the front yard and then they tried to set fire to one of the rooms in the house...."
Daniel Levy at TPM Cafe describes how the Bush Administration has refused to hold Israel to account for expansion of settlements on the West Bank. He blogs:
The U.S. is on paper opposed to settlement expansion. The U.S. narrative, though, has shifted. Initially settlements were characterized by the U.S. as "illegal"--that description was dropped by the Reagan Administration and never returned to. Settlements became no more than "unhelpful" and later on an "obstacle to peace"--a language which the Bush Administration has occasionally used. What the U.S. has not done is to take a firm, consistent, and unrelenting position that Israel uphold its commitment to a settlement freeze--and without such U.S. action, the Israeli cost-benefit calculation on settlement expansion vs. freeze is always skewed in favor of the former.Levy notes that settler violence and lawlessness is highly organized. He makes the case that violence-prone Jewish settler groups should be categorized as "terrorist organizations" by the US State Department. Levy also points to a recent Council on Foreign Relations and Brookings Institute report which advises that US aid to Israel be conditional pending a freeze on all new settlements.
So what if Israeli democracy is to some extent held hostage by extremists in the settler movement? Why does it matter what role America and the world chooses to play?
It matters precisely because -- as the final scene of the movie reminds us -- we had a choice.