ADURA - When the prime minister wasn't yet the prime minister, he loved to stick pins into maps. Between 1988 and 1992, Ariel Sharon stuck more than 120 pins into the map of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, changing the map of Israel, shaping the current nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and drawing the lines of the conflict's contact. As the great colonizer of the end of the 20th century, with his own hands, Sharon decided what we will kill for in the 21st century, what we'll be killed for, and where.
Two of the pins that Sharon stuck in the map were the twin settlements of Telem and Adura. Sharon the strategist stuck the blue-headed pins of the 200 residents of Adura and the 90 at Telem among the 14,000 residents of Idna, the 11,000 residents of Tarkumiyah, the 16,000 residents of Halhul, the 7,000 residents of Tufah, and the 120,000 residents of the city of Hebron.
It's difficult to know what was going through his mind. It's difficult to say what he thought the 300 Israeli Jews would do in the midst of some 180,000 Palestinian Arabs around them. But when Peace Now demonstrated on Independence Day, 1982, against turning the Nahal outpost into a civilian settlement, then defense minister Ariel Sharon ignored their prophetic warnings. "The settlements are Israel's answer against the establishment of a Palestinian state," he said at the state ceremony turning the army outpost over to civilians. "We have made clear our commitment to ourselves that we will not leave Judea and Samaria, but continue to build with all momentum, and forever, Jews will live in Judea and Samaria alongside Arabs."
On Shabbat, April 27, 2002, 20 years to the day after Sharon's celebratory speech, two terrorists made their way from the nearby village of Tufah, and infiltrated Adura, a community settlement. Ya'acov Katz, 51, and Arik Becker, 22, were killed in an exchange of fire. Katya Greenberg, 43, was murdered in her sleep, in her bed, with a long burst from a Kalashnkov. The same happened to Daniela Sheffi, 5, in her bedroom, as her mother sat beside her brushing her hair for the Shabbat. Two percent of Adura's residents were killed that day. Three percent were wounded. Miraculously, more weren't massacred.
Thus, to a certain extent, Adura is the symptom now. The 60 families living in the two settlements up to a month ago (mostly secular, moderate, and of limited means), are paying the outrageous price of the failure of the Israeli leadership of the past generation. Ariel Sharon cannot look into the eyes of those he planted in useless places, while Shimon Peres cannot look into the eyes of those he surrounded with a strangling embrace of thousands of Kalashnikovs. The right wing does not know how to deal with its follies of the 1980s, and the left doesn't know how to deal with its follies of the 1990s.
Maybe that's why nobody comes. Other than the communications minister, not a single minister from the Sharon-Peres government came to Adura to help the residents deal in one way or another with the impossible situation they find themselves in. The Tel Aviv left regards the settlers of Telem-Adura as lepers, while the nationalists of Sycamore Ranch treat them like forgotten pawns on a chessboard after a particularly embarrassing move. And while the international community is coming close to defining them as war criminals, and the media finds it difficult to have any compassion, and the human rights community proposes to evict them down to the last one, the 50-60 families of Adura-Telem find themselves all alone. Behind closed doors. Alone with fear of the nights.
So they are leaving. One after the other, they are leaving. According to Adura's secretary, Sigal Amrani, by the end of the summer vacation about a quarter of Telem's residents and about a third of Adura's will be gone. According to some of the youngsters, more than half the residents will be gone by the end of the year. Already, there are streets where every other house is shuttered. Every other house is empty.
Seemingly, the left could celebrate. Peace Now's warning in 1982 was proved right. Without any official declaration, the evacuation of the settlements has begun. But it's highly doubtful that an evacuation through Kalashnikovs meets any of the moral standards to which the left is supposedly committed. It's doubtful if this type of evacuation - abandonment - can absolve the prime minister from the state's responsibility, and his personal responsibility. So, as one breathes in the crisp fresh air on the hilltops of Telem-Adura, and peers down into the deep valleys around them, it's absolutely clear that it's impossible to wait. The settlement issue demands immediate answers.
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