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The Fraudulent Case Against ‘Violent Settlers’

Liel Leibovitz
Tablet, Feb. 7, 2024

“By scrubbing any mention of the daily violence directed by Palestinian terror operatives against Jewish civilians living in the West Bank from his reports, Fenzel has eliminated the clear retaliatory motive for the vast majority of attacks by Israelis against West Bank Palestinians.”
 
In early November of last year, barely a month after Hamas terrorists breached an internationally recognized border, murdered more than 1,200 Israelis, and kidnapped hundreds more, Michael Herzog attended a meeting on Capitol Hill. Israel’s ambassador to the United States, accompanied by his military attaché, likely hoped that the briefing would focus on the Jewish state’s efforts to defend itself from the heaviest blow it had ever sustained.

But the conversation took a very different tack. Instead of focusing on Hamas or Hezbollah, the lawmakers in attendance, sources told Tablet, including senior-ranking senators from both parties, wanted to focus on the risks posed by Israel—specifically, by roving bands of allegedly violent settlers in the West Bank. Lawmakers pressed the Israeli officials, going so far as to assert that uniformed IDF soldiers were escorting Israeli settlers to attack Palestinians.

Much of the information that these lawmakers were citing came from a single, ostensibly impartial source whose words carry weight in Washington in part because of his rank: Lieutenant General Michael R. Fenzel, a three-star general who currently serves as the U.S. security coordinator to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC). The USSC is well-known for its regular, sometimes daily briefings and reports about “extremist settlers,” which it provides to members of Congress, policy hands, Israel-related advocacy groups, as well as to foreign countries’ forces in Israel.

According to sources in and out of the U.S. government familiar with Fenzel’s reports and advocacy, nearly every claim presented by the USSC as fact seems to have been lifted directly, sometimes verbatim, from the websites of highly partisan pro-Palestinian organizations, including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA) and the far-left Israeli NGO B’Tselem, which accuses Israel of apartheid and receives vast support from European governments and from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. … [To read the full article, click here]

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