Two States?

08.03.12

Another Reason Dani Dayan is Wrong

Dani Dayan, leader of the Yesha council (organizational body of the settler movement) told Zvika Krieger over at The Atlantic that he thinks the "price tag" attacks perpetrated by settlers against Palestinains in the West Bank is "terrible." Krieger writes: 

Dayan's relatively responsible stewardship of the settlement movement has been eclipsed in recent months by his struggles against internal fringe elements that have become increasingly radical and violent. Their rage has culminated in the "price tag campaign," the name given to acts of random violence by Israeli settlers who, according to The New York Times, "exact a price from local Palestinians or from the Israeli security forces for any action taken against their settlement enterprise."

Dayan is quick to condemn the campaign. "It's terrible, terrible, terrible, it's a terrible thing," he exclaims. "First off, from the moral point of view, it's really terrible, a shame," he says with visible annoyance, as if it is a line he has had to repeat numerous times over the past few months. "And it's the greatest damage that I can see today to our cause, and so the people that do these things, if they think that they help our cause, they are both criminals and stupid."

pricetag-olive-grove
Palestinian farmer Muntaha al-Njar reacts at her farm after allegedly Jewish settlers cut down her olive trees in the village of Burin, near the settlement of Yitzhar, in the northern West Bank. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP / Getty Images)

And Dayan should be commended for condemning unwarranted violence and for reminding us that most settlers are just ordinary people, not vandals and brigands who burn mosques and slash Palestinian tires.

So here, Dayan and I can agree: “Price tag” attacks are awful.  But where we part ways is that Dayan refuses to acknowledge the inherent structural violence of the occupation.  Trying to build a one-state reality in the name of “inalienable rights and realpolitik” is treacherously dishonest. The fact is, most Palestinian rights are perfectly "alienable" in the West Bank—and that is something we should never try to "normalize" even when "price tag" attacks don't make the news.