French Militants Increase Tensions at Jewish Settlements

In an previous blog post, I covered what IMHO was a potentially bad idea by Israel to supplement the army enforced protection of Jewish settlements by arming the settlers with ostensibly non-lethal arms in order to counter possible protests by Palestinians in the wake of their soon to fail UN bid for statehood. My main concern is that actions by the armed settlers in an already tense environment could lead to a violent confrontation as the settlers lack the crowd control training of the army. Non-lethal rounds, in my experience, are used more freely than lethal munitions. Shooting a guy throwing rocks at you with a bean bag round is emotionally and legally easier than killing him but, non lethal rounds if used incorrectly can kill. Miss center of mass and strike your target in the head and he is dead, get unlucky and slam the round too close to the heart and you can cause heart failure. I foresee a possible blood bath if one protestor is shot and dies, as angry mobs are not rational actors. Turning a peaceful protest towards violence or giving extremists the opening they need to push the Palestinians closer to another round of armed conflict.


Armed French citizens ‘tanning under the sun’ in a West Bank settlement [Photo: Jewish Defense League] – From Al Jazeera English

Now the French chapter of Jewish Defense League has sent 55 armed militants to supplement several settlements and they are reported to carry assault rifles. In the picture above, taken from the linked Al Jazeera English article, I count only one of the seventeen weapons that is capable of less than lethal fire, the M203 grenade launcher, unless of course the assault rifles are heavily modified. I doubt these fighters will heed the words of Israeli military authority. Who do they report to? Who commands their deployment? Who will watch them to ensure that deadly force is used only as a last resort and in self defense? Armed fundamentalists of any type are never a recipe for non violence. They have an agenda, unlike the Israeli Soldiers who, if they are anything like American Soldiers, don’t really want to be there in the first place and are following orders of a Government that is not necessarily spoiling for a fight.

Worse, JDL in France has had numerous members convicted of vandalism and violent crime against French Muslims, notably the assault of 4 university students. Not the people I would want with me to keep a complicated standoff from getting worse. As the UN bid for Palestinian statehood marches towards its inevitable no vote from the Security Council, tensions are rising to a breaking point throughout Israel. What was already a powder keg of potential violence now has a French extremist militant standing close by with a lit match.


  1. says

    What are Israel’s laws about visitors bringing weapons? Is the country a free-fire range, or something?

    Actually, from what I recall about French firearms laws, those would not be something you could purchase in France. They must have been acquired after they arrived in-country.

    They must have pretty amazing duty-free stores in the airports in Israel.

  2. P Smith says

    The Israeli government can be likened to George Wallace and the French Militant to the local unofficial chapter of the Ku Klux Klowns. One has “official” status and turns a blind eye (read: it silently supports) to violence perpetrated by the unofficial group.

    The reason Israel’s government to let them in is to perpetrate violence against the Palestinians while allowing Neten-yahoo, the Butcher of Bethlehem, to maintain plausible deniability. The jewish squatters living illegally on Palestinian land (the so-called “settlers”) have been perpetrating such violence for decades. It’s nothing new.

    Why do people still use the weasel word “settler”? It infers that the land was empty, and denies the history of ethnic cleansing in the region, such as the holocaust known as Nakba. It’s like pretending the Native American and Native Canadian people didn’t exist, or the British pretending the Tasmanians didn’t exist…actually, they don’t exist anymore, because the British mass murdered every single one of them from the island.


  3. Yoritomo says

    I’m with Occam’s Blunt Instrument. Fortunately these militants seem to have returned to France without incident, but that kind of weaponry simply cannot have been legal.

  4. Asplomat says

    As much as I disagree with the JDL, and as much as I hate to interrupt your hate-on, if you have a look at that photo, there are a few discrepancies.

    1) The men are all (bar one wearing Jeans) in IDF clothing, holding IDF issue weapons (M4s, Negev LMGs). I sincerely doubt that France’s weapons laws are quite that liberal, nor do I think the IDF would really make their own lives more difficult by providing weapons and gear to civilians

    2) That’s not land in the background. It’s sea. It actually kind of looks like the rocks around Rosh Hanikra in the north of Israel around the Lebanon border

    • says

      The phote was released by the french chapter of JDL, so it was either them or they were lying

      not to mention that the vast majority of american militants wear surplus american military cloathing, picking up weapons in theater also solves the problems of customs.

      This picture origionally came from a JDL website.

      Some people seem to we hesitant to trust AJE as a source, but it one of our primary civilian news sources for the region, our intel guys swear by the english news division even if they swear at the more inflamitory arab language division.

      • Asplomat says

        To be honest, I’ll agree with that from what I’ve seen in my politics background, Al-Jazeera can be a good source at times.

        However, if that pic was taken from a JDL website, to me it appears pure propaganda, and likely stolen from some random IDF member’s facebook account.

        While I’ll certainly agree that many fringe US and worldwide militant groups equip themselves with Army surplus, the gear looks a little too recent to have been released as surplus from IDF arsenals, based on what I saw on IDF soldiers on the street during my last visit to Israel around 6 months ago. Added to the water in the background (and no, the Dead Sea does not look like that) the photo rings as a fallacy. I’d suggest that IF the JDL were able to secure weapons in country, LMGs and M203s would be somewhat difficult if not impossible to secure

        • says

          If it was propaganda then I am relieved, I am seeing if my Israeli buddy can get any updates. If these guys just went to Israel to do some sightseeing and faked the funk when it came to the militancy then it’s safer for everyone.

  5. says

    Let’s try to work together to support a lasting PEACEFUL solution, where Jews,Christians, and Muslims, and anyone else there can live side-by-side. And where Palestinians either have their own self-controlled state, or where they are legitimized citizens of the state of Israel with EQUAL rights.

  6. says

    Israel has a right to breathe as much as any other region but Israel has to stop the brutal strikes and attacks on unfortunate Palestanians in GAZA. There’s a difference among a Jew and a Zionist where a Zionist is as evil as Bin Laden and Ghazi of Red Mosque and a Jew as innocent as any additional Muslim (just one example).

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