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Why Have Religious Zionists Perpetrated Acts of Violence in Hebron Post-2005?

  • Author(s): Picciuto, Nico
  • et al.
Abstract

Why have Religious Zionists perpetrated acts of violence in Hebron post-2005? Israel’s disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank settlements in 2005 caused the Religious Zionist settler movement to rethink the status of their struggle, leading to increased settler conflict throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the ongoing, multi-generational persistence of Religious Zionist theology in vibrant segments of the Israeli settler community. Particularly in Hebron, the fallout from Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza aroused a strong sense of betrayal and distrust among Religious Zionists in the region who evidently believed strategic realignment was imperative at a time when the ongoing project of Religious Zionism was challenged on the basis of its founding principle – that is, Jewish biblical right to total settlement throughout the Occupied Territories. Disengagement thus symbolized the direct opposite of everything the original Religious Zionist movement had set out to achieve vis-à-vis the continual expansion of Zionist control throughout the Occupied Territories through the agency of actions such as settlement. Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in the summer of 2005, by this logic, represents a failure – an antithesis – of what they believed to be the true path of Religious Zionism, or a deep-rooted conviction that settlers were carrying out the divine will of the Holy Land. In short, I attempt to describe and interpret why the consequences of this approach were particularly acute in Hebron, where settler conflict increased dramatically in the post-2005 period.

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