2015: A farewell to West Bank outposts?
By 2015, there will be no more Migron. There will be Ramat Migron, Neve Migron, Nofei Migron and Maale Migron.
In 2015, people will no longer talk about "outposts." There will be no Migron and no Ulpana Hill, no Givat Assaf and no Amona. In 2015, nobody will care. After Migron and Ramat Migron, they will build Neve Migron, Palgei Migron, Nofei Migron, Maale Migron and Tzidei Migron, along with Upper Migron and Lower Migron, and places with all the other generic names for new residential communities.
In 2015, the outpost system will be 20 years old. After the Oslo II interim agreement, when the settlers saw the Oslo II borders had been set based on where communities were located, they began grabbing every hill and mountain. The methods have already been discussed ad infinitum: Every archaeological site, faucet or antenna needs a guard, who needs a partner, who needs a grocery store, which needs an access road for a truck. And repeatedly, ministers on both the right and the left approve another small advance.
It's doubtful whether the settlers understood what a sophisticated strategic move they had invented when they took to the hills. The veteran communities became the legal and legitimate "settlements," where people follow the law, home to normative citizens who strictly observe planning and construction regulations. They deserve assistance. Alongside them are the "outposts" of lawbreakers, who seize land that doesn't belong to them. Thus, several thousand people managed to "launder" the hundreds of thousands in the other communities.
The method was refined over the years. The once illegal outposts are slowly but surely becoming homes of "normative people who serve in the army," "who don't want to quarrel with anyone," and who received government assistance. They all have piles of documents and papers that show the state's profound involvement, and everyone can tell you what percentage do reserve duty, which Israel Defense Forces brigade commander lives where and what they went through in their service during Operation Cast Lead.
And thanks to Likud members, every such place is visited by ministers and MKs, who compete among themselves to flatter the residents for settling the land, the same residents who voice implicit threats and specific demands regarding the need to issue retroactive building permits.
Alongside them, of course, are "new" outposts, on the hills that have been seized by the new scofflaws. They include Mitzpe Avichai, Ramat Migron and Maoz Esther, populated by young hilltop youths, not normative, who don't necessarily serve in the army, and who serve as a punching bag for the Civil Administration.
By 2015 the government is supposed to bring the entire outpost saga to an end. A year ago, the government ruled that everything that had been built on state land would be legalized, while everything on private land would be demolished. Of course, since then it turned out that "the majority cannot live with" the private-land edict, so the attorney general was sent "to find a solution" to make it all legal.
In 2015, the new Migron is supposed to be ready: 52 houses including 100 residential units, each with a small garden, because there isn't that much space there, alongside public buildings and a small land reserve for future development. Of course it won't be called Migron, it will be part of the settlement of Kochav Yaakov, because the government wants to fool itself that it's not building a new community, only another neighborhood in an existing community. With the residents' birthrate, there will be 500 children, necessitating lots of kindergartens, and perhaps a Talmud Torah elementary school.
The new community of Migron will symbolize the era of innocence and naivete of religious Zionism's old generation, which sought to reach agreements with the government instead of demanding whatever it wanted.
In 2015, Beit El's Ulpana Hill neighborhood will still be there. Words will be found to square the circle, to convince the State Prosecutor's Office, to satisfy Yesha Council of Settlements Chairman Danny Dayan, to gladden the heart of National Union party chairman Yaakov Katz and to placate Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Givat Assaf will also remain. Amona certainly.
In 2015 they'll say, "We settled the land 20 years ago, and now we're supposed to evacuate it? Now?" All the other outposts will be laundered. Some will receive the status of independent communities in the Land of Israel, and some will come up with all kinds of new and legal ideas, from a horse ranch to a children's activity park. The outpost solution will also lead to geopolitical changes in Judea and Samaria.
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely will be unemployed. Without a stubborn and determined battle over our share in the country, what will she do? What will she have to get angry about? Over what will she threaten to bring down the government, social security? The health care system? Preschool education? How will she justify her Knesset membership? What will she do for her electorate?
Likud MK Zeev Elkin will have to find a new party for himself. After switching from Kadima to Likud in a breathtakingly opportunistic move, maybe he'll find himself back in Kadima again as the pet settler who wants to reconcile with our Palestinian neighbors.
The Yesha Council will have to find a new project, another outlet for channeling the settlement leadership's tremendous energy. We can reasonably assume they will invest their energy in annexing Area C (now under Israeli jurisdiction ) to the State of Israel. A lot of political pressure on ministers, spin on the settlers' radio station Arutz Sheva, and Zionist awareness. Who knows? Maybe that will also happen in 2015.
The government will have a lot of extra time. They won't have to convene the eight senior ministers, the cabinet, ministerial committees, small meetings, meetings with officials, without officials, with the adviser, without the adviser, for repeated discussions about the outposts. Likud faction meetings will be conducted calmly. Minister Michael Eitan won't fight with Miri Regev.
Our ministers will cancel meetings. Why attend if you can't simultaneously send a text message saying that Minister Limor Livnat told the prime minister that a great injustice has been done, that it has to be handled immediately and one of the outpost residents has to be rescued?
The prime minister will have free time. Maybe he'll use it for more important discussions.
In 2015 the attorneys in the High Court of Justice petitions department may be able to go home before 8 P.M. Maybe the public petitioners and the landowners will realize that there's no point and that salvation isn't going to come from the High Court. The attorneys handling the petitions will stop faxing drafts of the reply from one office to another, stop seeking precedents for violating government commitments and confiscating private property. They'll stop giving in to various political whims, and trying to square circles.