The events in the Gaza Strip are liable to deteriorate into an overall violent conflict between two Jewish states with different goals. One is the State of Israel, and the other is the state of the settlers.
Despite the profound ties between them, each of them feels threatened by the other. The major clash is expected when the State of Israel carries out the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria. But it would be a mistake to think it will end with that. If the Israeli government really intends to carry out its commitments to the road map, the conflict between the sides will probably intensify.
The State of Israel established the state of the settlers and, in the final analysis, the golem is rebelling against its creator.
In the government and in the Knesset, the settlement movement has become the strongest political pressure group that Israel has ever known. The state of the settlers was provided with weapons, and now there is a fear that these weapons will be used against the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police.
At a certain stage, the settlers managed to acquire influence on the methods of operation of IDF commanders in the territories, and even tried to dictate to the heads of the security services who should be the heads of Central Command and when not to invite them to join discussions between the settler leaders and the defense minister.
On the ground, the settlers decided which of the State of Israel's laws should be observed in their state, and which ones should be ignored. Thus, they fearlessly stole private lands belonging to their Palestinian neighbors, as well as lands defined as "state lands." They cut down the Palestinians' olive trees and stole their fruit. None of these robbers has been indicted, and those who did get to the courts for acts of killing had their punishments mitigated.
At the same time, the settlers infiltrated the most sensitive arms of the Israeli administration. Thus, they gained control of essential information in the Civil Administration in the territories, allowed illegal construction activities and violated the orders of ministers, as was proved in a report by attorney Talia Sasson concerning the illegal outposts. One of the results is that the Israel Police is afraid to enforce the law in the state of the settlers, while the IDF ignores illegal acts. In order to obtain information about the state of the settlers, the security services had to operate expensive private flights for filming purposes.
For a long time, the settlers have been behaving as though the State of Israel were a foreign government, as was the British Mandate in its day. They take what they can from the government, take over property and lands insofar as possible, and ignore what is inconvenient for them.
The fear of those in charge of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's security today vis-a-vis the right-wing extremists is greater than their fear of Palestinian assassins. The operation of a small UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to protect the prime minister when he travels on the roads testifies to that fact.
The state of the settlers is also taking safety measures to protect itself from the activities of the State of Israel. Settlers with knowledge in these fields are guiding their people as to how to avoid electronic eavesdropping by the Shin Bet security services, and how to behave in an investigation if they are arrested. These extremists, who are encouraged by the rabbis, are threatening the integrity of the IDF by calling on young religious men to refuse orders and even to desert. There are even extremists who are threatening to harm Islamic holy sites.
The argument that, in their struggle against the disengagement, the settlers are trying to save democracy in Israel by means of a national referendum is false. The state of the settlers has only one goal, perpetuation of the occupation and domination of the Palestinian people; in other words, the war with the Palestinians will continue, and if the settlers actually harm Islamic holy sites it will be a world war with the Islamic world, and an irreparable rift with the Arab community in Israel.
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