Prof. Zeev Sternhell, the Israel Prize winner who was the target of a bombing in Jerusalem a few days ago, tells the U.K. Independent why he suspects right-wing Jewish extremists targeted him, and why the attack against him was of a piece with Jewish violence against Palestinians in the West Bank:
As a veteran member of Peace Now, and vigorous opponent of the occupation since the late 1970s, the Hebrew University scholar, Israel Prize laureate and internationally-known authority on the roots of fascism apparently became the target of the highest-profile attack inside Israel by far right-wing Jewish extremists since Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995.
But if the attack was meant to silence one of the country’s foremost public intellectuals, it hasn’t worked. For a start he does not rule out a connection with strong signs of increasing violence by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. In recent weeks, extremist settlers have rioted, blocked roads, burned Palestinian orchards and in one case, armed settlers have attacked a village.
Lamenting that the army and the police are “either unwilling or unable or probably both” to enforce the law against attacks on Palestinians in a West Bank where the settlers enjoy a kind of “self rule”, he says the extremists believe that “people like me who think that they are the real danger to Zionism, to the future of the Israeli state, should be neutralised and should be punished… So I think there is a link between the brutality and violence that is the reality of everyday life in the West Bank and this attack.”