Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Holds Classified Briefing on Settler Violence Report

By Aryeh Stern

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), convened on Wednesday for a classified debate at the request of one-third of the committee’s members. The MKs in question requested to hold a debate under the topic they defined as “Request for a briefing from the IDF on a report about settler violence.” The request was submitted following media reports on the existence of such a report, and the committee members wrote in their request that “this is an issue of diplomatic and public diplomacy importance, particularly during the challenging war period, and it’s important that we as committee members address it.”

In the debate, an IDF official told the MKs that there was no IDF report as described, and clarified that the IDF did not employ the term “settler violence” but rather “nationalist crime.” He said that a weekly meeting was held between the various organizations responsible for security and maintaining public order, including the IDF, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), and the Israel Police. In these meetings, informative discussions are held, including exchanges of information and classification of information in a coordinated manner, in order to establish coordination and uniform discourse between the different organizations. The IDF official emphasized that there were only a few such incidents, and that everyone needed to denounce them, so that a handful of people would not besmirch an entire population.

Committee Chair MK Edelstein said in summation of the debate that the committee members condemned sharply any display of violence, certainly from the Jewish side. He added, however, that the committee members were equally opposed to any collective blaming of a group for producing violence against anyone, and said that marginal phenomena should not be blown out of proportion.

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