Five hundred people wearing white shirts gathered Wednesday on the hills facing the West Bank settlement of Itamar to establish a new settlement, named Regev.
Veteran settlement leaders Daniella Weiss, Rabbi Dov Lior, and the aged and ailing Rabbi Moshe Levinger, spoke. Young people erected a tent and a wall of rocks as bored Border Police soldiers watched the proceedings.
Regev's fate will probably be no different than the other outposts Daniella Weiss has established: it will either be repeatedly evacuated and re-established or abandoned after a short time.
But the importance of today's event is in the process underway among the settlers now, ahead of the Palestinian attempt to declare unilateral statehood in September.
After the settlement freeze ended last September, the settlement leaders briefly launched campaigns to depose Defense Minister Ehud Barak and to publish more construction tenders in the settlement blocs. But these plans did not strike resounding chords, and were shelved. Now that there are indications that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be launching a diplomatic move in the near future, the settlers are waking up.
At the same time the new outpost was going up opposite Itamar, the Shomron Regional Council was holding a funfest in Itamar, complete with inflatable castles for kids.
Weiss held her event outside the settlement's fence to show that she and her small band of disciples are not part of the establishment.
"Regev is not part of Itamar. It is outside of the fences...overlooking the city of Shekhem [Nablus]...Idealistic people are joining us...people with a strong feeling for the land of Israel," she said.
The radical settlement movement is concerned about the possible transfer of areas from C (full Israeli control ) to B (Palestinian civil control; Israeli military control ) to A (full Palestinian control ), as reported in Haaretz. If that happens, young people are reportedly planning to take over these areas to prevent their evacuation.
Just before Passover, settlement leaders began to realize that Netanyahu was going to make a significant move. As of Wednesday, their intelligence was meager. One of the seven senior ministers who regularly leaks information to them was mum.
The leaders have decided to urge Likud MKs and Likud Central Committee members to exert massive pressure on Netanyahu, as they did to prevent the continuation of the construction moratorium, and make the summer session of the Knesset a decisive one for Netanyahu.
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