Israel cracks down on Jewish extremists
After the death of a Palestinian toddler in an arson attack reportedly carried out by Jewish extremists the Israeli authorities have arrested further suspects. Some commentators welcome the crackdown on Jewish fanatics. Others criticise Israel's settlement policy saying it undermines the state's democratic foundations.
Focus on Jewish fanatics at last
The crackdown on Jewish extremists may signal a change in the Israeli government's policy towards the Palestinians, writes the liberal daily Irish Examiner hopefully: "Indeed, at times [the government] seemed to take strength from criticism levelled at it over its treatment of Palestinians, its support for land theft described as settlements and, most of all, its attitude towards the million or so people trapped in Gaza. ... Is it possible that Israel has at last realised it can - or at least its extremists can - only go so far before sanity must prevail? Is it too much to hope the crackdown on extremists following Friday's petrol-bomb attack in a West Bank village in which a Palestinian baby was burnt to death signals a victory for moderation over fanaticism?"
Israeli society's reaction exemplary
Israeli society is pressuring the government to deal with the extremists from its own country, writes the liberal daily Dennik N approvingly: "Extremism in Israel may not be as widespread or as dangerous as the Muslim kind but it has always existed. It undermines Israel's international image, peace efforts, the foundations of the modern state. We will see how serious Prime Minister Netanyahu's promise to show zero tolerance to extremists from his own ranks really is. … The critical factor is pressure from the Israelis themselves. The great majority of them reacted to the terrorist attack as one would expect of a modern democratic society. They condemned it and demanded punishment for the culprits. That is a marked difference to the way the Palestinian and Arab societies react to attacks by their own terrorists on Israel."
Settlement policy root of all evil
The Israeli state is jeopardising its own existence with its settlement policy, argues political scientist Dominique Moïsi, senior advisor to the Paris-based Institut Français des Relations Internationales, in the regional newspaper Ouest France: "Can the Israeli prime minister efficiently condemn with all due harshness deeds that are supported at least indirectly by some of his own ministers, when at the same time he depends on the parties of the far right? … The greatest long-term threat to Israel - and its existence as a democratic Jewish state - is neither Iran nor the IS terrorist militia but a settlement policy that rocks the political and ethical foundations of the state. Israel rightly fears a campaign aimed at undermining its legitimacy. But today no one is contributing more to the Israeli government's isolation than the government itself."