The OC Central Command, Yair Naveh, dropped a cluster bomb early this week. He signed an order barring Israeli citizens from taking Palestinian passengers in their Israeli vehicles within the West Bank. The order will take effect on January 19, 2007 and it exempts those who take Palestinians with permits to enter Israel and the settlements, or those who take their first-degree relatives with them.
The reason for the new order, as noted in the IDF Spokesperson’s announcement, is of course, security: to impede those who want “to perpetrate terrorist attacks on the home front of the State of Israel and in the Judea, Samaria and Jordan Valley regions.” Therefore, the order sounds like a standard IDF shell whose objective is “self-defense,” but in practice it is another component in the regime of national and ethnic separation that exists in the West Bank, a regime of privileges for the Jewish settler minority, at the expense of the Palestinians’ individual and national rights. Like other military orders and Knesset laws, which are cleverly cloaked in the guise of the security argument, this order, too, sheds cluster bombs that will continue to destroy the remaining chance of establishing Peace-relations with the Palestinians.
The security argument will satisfy the vast majority of Israelis, just as they are content with the security explanation for hundreds of road closures and dozens of military checkpoints inside the West Bank. The fact that these limit mobility to a minimum and separate between a village and its lands, one village and another, a village and the city, and from one district and another, that is, disrupt the normal life that it is still possible to maintain under the Israeli occupation regime, never deterred the army commanders who formulated the orders, never stopped the High Court of Justice judges who approved and continue to approve the orders, and it never bothered the Labor party’s MKs. Most of the Israeli public is also not troubled by the fact that it is precisely the checkpoints and roadblocks which serve the Israeli colonization policy; they are dissecting the occupied West Bank into small and disconnected enclaves where Palestinians live, surrounded by an ocean of settlement momentum and Jewish territorial contiguity.