In retaliation for the shooting on Sep. 22 of an Israeli soldier, Sgt. Gabriel Koby, 20, while patrolling in Hebron, killed by a sniper with a shot to the neck, the Government of Israel has allowed the immediate resettlement of Beit Hamachpela ("House of the Patriarchs") a three-story apartment building in that city near the Cave of the Patriarchs and close to where Koby was shot.
(Hebron's Jewish community had purchased most of the building in March 2012 but its members were expelled from it by the Israeli government a few days later on the grounds that they lacked a residential permit. They subsequently won a lawsuit permitting them to return but did not have authorization to do so.)
Beit Hamachpela in Hebron.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented that "Whoever tries to uproot us from the city of our forefathers will achieve the opposite. We will continue to fight terrorism and hit the terrorists with one hand, and we will continue to strengthen the settlement enterprise with the other hand." Economy Minister Naftali Bennett noted that "We know how to build and settle. Not to kill. This would be the appropriate Zionist answer [to the violence]."
(1) As someone who has long argued for a more robust Israeli response to unprovoked violence, this decision strikes me as very appropriate. It signals the Palestinians that killing Israelis marches them exactly backwards. Next time, the Israeli response should be even more robust; as Aaron Lerner suggests, that could mean the settlement of a new neighborhood. This message would quickly get through and violence would abate.
(2) The Palestinian Authority did not condemn this attack, nor another one a day earlier, when an Israeli soldier, Tomer Hazan, also 20, was lured to his death in the West Bank, pointing again to the PA's completely unsuitability as a "peace partner" for Israel. The farcical negotiations sponsored by John Kerry and overseen by Martin Indyk should be suspended until Mahmoud Abbas makes a convincing apology and takes steps to insure that such misbehavior is never repeated. (September 23, 2013)
Oct. 11, 2013 update: In response to the apparent terrorist murder of Seraiah Ofer, 61, a retired IDF colonel, Israel's Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, responded with his intent to "enlarge and strengthen" settlement in the area. "This is the proper Zionist response to a revolting murder."
Aaron Lerner of Independent Media Review and Analysis also calls for a "truly give Zionist response to terror." He notes that
A look at the map of modern Israel finds it sprinkled with the names of settlements named in memory of the victims of various Arab attacks. … It should be made clear that the murder of Israelis leads to new settlement construction. Sure, the Palestinians won't be pleased to learn that settlement construction is taking place in the memory of the man murdered, but will the murderers still be the same heroes they expected to be if their action leads to the building of yet more Jewish homes? The "Zionist response to terror" has another benefit. Besides deterring Arab terror, it would serve to bolster the morale of the Israeli public by offering it a positive emotional outlet through which to respond to Arab terror. By establishing living memorials, Israel would be effectively saying: "We are on the map. Terror will not vanquish." It is said that the Arabs decided to make peace with Israel when they came to the conclusion that they could not destroy the Jewish State on the battlefield. By the same token, settlement activity today may very well convince the Palestinians that they must compromise now or face the prospects of a considerably worse deal in the future.