While I’m still trying to get my thoughts together for my own Amona post (or if they never do come together, I’ll give up and move on to another subject), David Bogner of Treppenwitz has written his. As usual, Dave’s post is very much worth reading.
Pending investigations, I’m prepared to believe that the police involved in last week’s fracas (or at least some of them) indeed acted with undue violence. At the same time, there are a couple of points Dave makes that I can’t quite accept at face value:
- I’m not convinced that the timing of the demolitions at Amona really had all that much to do with Ehud Olmert and the upcoming election campaign. The demolition orders were issued quite some time ago, long before Ariel Sharon’s stroke. That said, it may be that Olmert felt some pressure to be particularly decisive at this moment – but so what? One point that is constantly raised by those who opposed the demolition is that a compromise was offered immediately beforehand, and Olmert rejected it. If this compromise offer was really sincere, why was it offered only on the morning of the demolition? It looks to me like the “compromise offer” was in reality just another deceptive delaying tactic.
- David, like most anti-demolition writers, decries the violation of the “rights” of those living in Amona and those who came to protest the demolition. But settlers – myself included! – need to remember that we do not live inside “Israel proper”, and that as residents of territories under military administration, we do not have the full civil rights we would have inside the Green Line. Even legal settlements exist subject to the government’s say-so; and the illegal settlement outposts are simply that: illegal. The fact that settlers were encouraged (by Ariel Sharon, among others) to “grab” these hilltops is unfortunate; but the fact remains that the people living in these outposts, and the people supporting them, know quite well that they are on shaky ground. I get a little tired of hearing about how victimized they feel when the government finally decides to enforce its own laws!
- David makes a very thoughtful analogy between the more extreme section of the settler movement and the “wicked son” of the Passover seder. However, like most pro-settler commentators, he appears to assign all (or most) blame for the alienation between settlers and the general Israeli public to the latter. He discusses “the sense of ‘otherness’ and disenfranchisement that had taken hold of the teenagers in the settler movement as a result of the unrelenting and heavy-handed rhetoric directed at them,” but never addresses the reasons the general public might have for feeling alienated from the settlers. As someone who maintains contact with both camps, I believe that the setter movement itself has a lot to answer for in this regard; sadly, most of the movement is becoming only more self-righteous and dismissive of ordinary Israelis as a result of the ongoing process of disengagement from the Palestinians.