Nachshon Rothstein, Aslan Media - Amid the myriad impediments to peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, what has most caught the public’s eye is the recent “price tag” acts of violence and vandalism committed by West Bank settlers. The aggression recently reached a terrible climax when a settler set fire to a mosque in Yasuf. Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres and other top Israeli politicians and communal leaders unequivocally and strongly denounced the attack as contrary to Jewish and Israeli values. Still, given the history of the settlers, such shock seems disingenuous.
In the 1920s, Jews settled land in former Judea and Samaria, purchasing it from Arabs. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, many of these towns were abandoned when their inhabitants fled the bloodshed. After the war, Jordan occupied the region that became known as the West Bank, until the 1967 Arab-Israeli War placed it under direct Israeli military control.
Intending to transform the West Bank into a buffer zone, Israel began allowing Israeli settlers to rebuild and repopulate villages such as Gush Etzion and Hebron. But it was not until after the 1973 Yom Kippur War that the Israeli government instituted a policy of strategic settlement over the West Bank.