So let's get right into it. Narwani begins by referencing incidents of settlers provoking the Palestinians, using videos that are mostly a few years old. Of course, none of them are quite on the level of spraying a car with five people inside with bullets until they are dead, but of course that is not the point. I haven't defended bad behavior by the settlers in the past and I won't do it now. That is not the point. What Narwani is saying is that all the settlers (or at least enough to generalize) act out and should be punished.
Narwani then gets into the standard lawfare: She declares that the settlements are illegal and quotes the Geneva Conventions. However, as explained here, that is not good enough and the GCs in no way indicate an illegal transfer is going on. I am not going to get into the whole argument, the point is that Narwani is going out on a limb with this declaration of illegality which has yet to be fully established in the real world. Then she gets to her point:
"But here's something we don't talk about readily. Why would consecutive Israeli governments heavily subsidize and incentivize the relocation of young families - women and children - into hostile environments? Why would Israel - which claims security dangers wherever there are Palestinian populations - deliberately and systematically place its Jewish civilian population in "harm's way?"This is her main point so I'm going to take a minute and go over this. She is claiming that the Israeli government is putting the settlers "in harms way" on purpose so as to provoke the Palestinians. In doing so she showcases her ignorance about Israeli politics, a subject which a journalist who writes almost exclusively about the Middle East ought to know.
The settlers are Israel's human shields and live bait."
We'll begin with a history of the settlements. For the first couple decades of their existence, things were peaceful, relatively speaking. It was not until the intifadas that the settlers came under attack and then that they had already been there for twenty years. To use Palestinian refugee standards, that makes those settlements their homes too. And once the settlers were already there, it is not easy to get them to leave, as we already know.
Now for the political reasons. As we are already all familiar with (or should be), there are strong pro-settler factions within the Israeli government. And no coalition government that contains them would be able to keep up a settlement freeze indefinitely, which is why Israel runs into all these problems involving freezes when it comes time to negotiate. Again, this should not be new information. So now to answer Narwani's question: Does it make more sense that Israel's government funded the settlers at the request of their coalition partners, or to use them as "human shields and live bait?" See what happens when you stop and think? Let's continue:
Narwani explains Israel's plan in further detail in her coming paragraphs. You see, the settlers just by existing will provoke the Palestinians and then:
"a half-crazed Palestinian will fight back, even kill some settlers. Israeli authorities immediately step in [and punish the Palestinians]... See how that works? Unleash your craziest Jews onto a Palestinian civilian population until someone blows a fuse and hits back."First of all, her characterization of terrorism as coming from "a half-crazed Palestinian" is laughable. The Palestinian people have made glorifying violence against Jews an integral part of their society. The Internet is full of videos of children longing for the day that they will blow themselves up and be immortalized forever in Palestinian lore. Unless Narwani is willing to declare the Palestinians in general as "half-crazed" she is not going to get much traction here. Even so, let's remember this characterization because it will expose her hypocrisy later.
As for her theory, it might make sense if one were to only look at the situation in the pigeon-hole she has created for us. Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work like that. We all know that Palestinian violence predated the settlements by decades, not even including the genocidal war in 1948. It is also true that the PLO was created with the intention of "liberating" all of Palestine, with the settlements only a speed bump along the way. Narwani's best buddies in Hamas made it clear when they started that they would not differentiate between settlers and non-settlers. They went on back their words up with actions. Sorry Ms. Narwani, but it isn't going to work. We know very well the reason the Palestinians kill. The settlers may not help the situation, but they didn't cause it.
It is at this point that things get ugly, as Ms. Narwani jumps through hoops to try and make unarmed women and children legitimate combatants:
"In other words, although Israel flagrantly violates the former law by incentivizing Israeli citizens to move into occupied Palestinian territory, these same international conventions do not allow Palestinians to willy-nilly defend their lives and property from Jewish settlers - except during actual hostilities, when they are usually at a considerable disadvantage."First notice how Ms. Narwani tries to change international law: The GCs do not forbid "incentivizing" (which is not a word) on the part of Israel, it forbids transferring. As you can read above, they are very different.
Anyway, now here we have a problem. You see, international law does forbid population transfer. However, under international law there is no such thing as "Palestinian territory," and thus the Palestinians have no property to defend. This is a classic case of Palbarists like Ms. Narwani picking and choosing which sections of international law to reference and ignoring the rest.
It is also the problem with using legal terms to approach a political problem. If the Palestinians want the settlements to stop, they know how to do that. Negotiate. If they want to get a legal body to get the settlements to stop, they can do that if they like. It won't work, but they can try. But what they can't do it take the law into their own hands. Because the GCs don't have a system of punishments and consequences for violating them, things get sticky.
Regardless, I find it very disturbing that Ms. Narwani seems to be complaining that the Palestinians can't kill unarmed women and children and still be protected by international law. I don't know why she is concerned about the law, because clearly the Palestinians aren't, but that's the way it goes when you try to hypocritically play two sides against each other.
This is getting a little long so I'm going to break it into two.