Benjamin Netanyahu's lack of mercy is encouraging Israelis to take matters into their own hands

He might have told citizens not to take revenge, but his reprisal attacks on Gaza are fuelling vigilantism

Share

When Lee Rigby was brutally murdered in Woolwich just over a year ago the Met Police took care to wound rather than kill Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebolawe although they were armed.

Their identities were widely known from the start and feelings ran high in Woolwich, but there were no lynch mobs on the streets and the men’s families were not attacked before or after the two were convicted of murder.

By comparison, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted on the occupied West Bank and found dead 18 days later, the country’s leaders sought to whip up racial tensions not just in Israel but around the world - with predictable results. On Tuesday morning a Palestinian teen was bundled into a car in East Jerusalem and his body was later found burned and mutilated.

Speaking at the triple funeral, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu denounced the killers, saying “They sanctify cruelty, but we sanctify mercy”. But during his speech, and following an intense bombing of Gaza by his air forice, his army was blowing up the homes of two murder suspects, who were not there. The wanted men are still presumed innocent and may never be found, but their clearly innocent families are now homeless.

Israel has been using the demolition of “terror” suspects’ homes as a deterrent for decades, and, like many of its other ideas, it has never worked, and there is no reason to believe it will. Equally, building yet another illegal settlement to commemorate the three dead boys, as has been proposed by Israel’s Defence Minister, is adding fuel to the flames, and not doing anything to put them out.

In Woolwich the forces of law and order were mobilised to prevent riots (which did not materialise) and the fortunes of the English Defence League waned rather than waxed following the brutal murder. In Jerusalem, on the other hand, the Jewish rioters sensed which way the official wind was blowing.

While Netanyahu made a speech urging people not to take the law into their own hands, groups of young Israelis, intent on revenge, rampaged through the city, attacking Palestinians at random and spraying “Price Tag: Death to Arabs” as they went.

The sentiment went international when the secretary-general of the youth movement Bnei Akiva, Rabbi Noam Perel, called for revenge on the movement’s Facebook page shortly after the bodies were found.

”The government of Israel is gathering for a revenge meeting that isn't a grief meeting”, he wrote. “A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins,“ he added, alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter Michal. “The disgrace will be paid for with the blood of the enemy, not with our tears.”

When it was pointed out to the rabbi that most Palestinians are Muslims, and would already have been circumcised, he removed the post. But not before dozens of social media groups calling for revenge for the murders of teens, were launched in the last two days. One of them, a Facebook group named “The people of Israel demands revenge,” already has over 35,000 likes.

Outpouring of burning hate fill the Palestinians’ social media too, but in Jerusalem only one side has the big guns – literally. And that is the side that claims to sanctify mercy, but shows little of it.

READ MORE
Palestinians claim dead teenafer found in forest was killed by Israelis
Robert Fisk: It's obscene when either side kills children

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher Thetford Secondary

£110 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: An Academy based in Thetfor...

Secondary Teacher Great Yarmouth

£115 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad are currently work...

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

Special Needs Learning Support Assistant

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jules and Delaney  

Disney needs a princess with Down's syndrome

Keston Ott Dahl
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge  

Step away from Pottermore, JK Rowling. Your new Harry Potter stories are driving me mad

Caspar Salmon
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes