Interesting development but the real test is whether this welcome reality check will bring any serious sanction against Israel. Haaretz reports:
A report by the U.S. State Department defines, for the first time, violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers in the West Bank as acts of terrorism.
The Country Reports on Terrorism, which under U.S. law is produced annually by the State Department and presented to the U.S. Congress, was published two weeks ago. It contained a chapter on Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
A section of the report entitled “Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism” addressed so-called “price-tag” attacks, which are committed primarily against Palestinians and their property by West Bank settlers.
The report mentions an attack carried out by a group of Israeli settlers against the IDF’s Efraim Regional Brigade headquarters in the West Bank.
That attack “sparked a public debate in Israel on the phenomenon of settler violence; political and security officials pledged to implement several steps to curb and punish these violent attacks,” according to the report.
The report also notes that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak labeled such attacks as having the characteristics of terrorist acts. Former IDF Head of Central Command Avi Mizrahi is also mentioned describing attacks against Palestinians and against their property as “terror.”
During 2011, the report says, ten mosques in the West Bank and in Jerusalem were set on fire – a dramatic increase compared to past years, following “six such incidents in 2010 and one in 2009.” The report also states that Israeli authorities believe that the attacks were “perpetrated by settlers.”