An Enemy on the Right

In a type of strange, almost suicidal dementia, not only are settlers already talking and acting like an enemy, but some of them are gleefully adopting its external signs.

During the evacuation of an outpost in the Gaza Strip, when settlers (excuse me: "extremists") were being dragged away by soldiers, and cries of "A Jew does not expel a Jew" mingled with "Do not uproot what is planted" - suddenly another of the settlers' veteran slogans burst forth from the cacophony of voices: "Let the IDF win!"

This cry was uttered by a settler who was fighting tooth and nail against the soldiers of that same Israel Defense Forces, while one of his friends was kicking ferociously an officer's head. Could such a distilled moment of "cognitive dissonance" be created in a laboratory?

But that's the power of inertia: For a generation, the settlers became accustomed to seeing themselves as the alter ego of the Zionist entity; as self-appointed determiners of its borders, as the supreme commanders of the army, as the sole mediators between God's will and the foreign and defense policy; they became so accustomed to "commanding" the IDF that they continue to issue orders even when the IDF is dragging them by the hands and feet and they are kicking it; and they are continuing to sic the army on the "enemy," while they themselves are being cast in that role - willingly and deliberately.

How did they push themselves into this corner? Not only do the settlers (excuse me: "the extremists") refuse to internalize the decree of the disengagement itself, they are also not internalizing its accompanying significance, which is perhaps the main point: an end to their supreme position of authority; the position that enabled them to confront soldiers, defense ministers and chiefs of staff for a generation, to wave a threatening finger and to hand out assignments - which Palestinian homes to "shave," how many trees to uproot and where the outpost that must be guarded should be built.

They became so accustomed to the IDF-settler, military-religious symbiosis that there are already some who prefer to confront the IDF even as a declared enemy, as long as they can hang on to the "security-related" toys that separate them from existential emptiness.

And thus, months after the disengagement was approved by Israel's government and Knesset, the land has become filled with all kinds of settler "security coordinators" and rabbis who are confronting the security forces as a defiant enemy; "logistical" figures ("we were all in the army and we know what implementation in the field means") who have simply declared war on the IDF and on the State of Israel, on the assumption (which is not baseless) that the country will use toy guns against them, only because they are Jews.

One of the militants among the Gush Katif settlers, a man by the name of Aryeh Yitzhaki, who stars in almost every TV report about the disengagement, is capable of shouting at the commander of the Gaza Division: "From now on, we're in command!" "From now on the attitude towards the brigade commander and the brigade will be entirely different," he threatens: "Do you hear, Aviv? The gloves are off!"

Several months ago, this settler was seen announcing the stockpiling of weapons and the beginning of logistical moves against "Dan Halutz's storm troopers," with the goal of defeating the IDF. And in the name of what? In the name of a security concept.

This week, that same commander of the Gaza Division, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, visited the Muasi neighborhood in Gaza. He tried to speak to the Palestinians and even to repair homes destroyed by the settlers (excuse me: "the extremists"). He said that these acts are "a shame and a disgrace"; in response, the Gush Katif spokesman said that the officer's visit to the Palestinians fills him with "shame and humiliation" (which may hint that the distance between the "extremists" and the "spokesmen" is not so great).

And, as though to teach us that the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, and that just the opposite is the case, the officer promised that "we will defeat them and remove them" (the Jewish extremists) - a new way of talking to the settlers on the part of the army. But if a type of ad hoc community of interests has been created between the IDF, the moderate Palestinians and most of the Israeli public on this side of the barricade, whereas Hamas, Hezbollah and the settlers are deployed on the other side - the latter can blame only themselves for that.

The settlers have already gone too far with their provocation and defiance. In a type of strange, almost suicidal dementia, not only are they already talking and acting like an enemy, but some of them are gleefully adopting its external signs: Bearded and turbaned fanatics, whose religion is not obvious at first glance, are waving yellow flags and are capable of any act of lynch and insanity; even the "moderates" among them are openly acting against the interests of the State of Israel, its citizens and its infrastructure; and, as the commander of the Maasiyahu Prison testified this week, the detainees of the disengagement are behaving like the "wanted men," and the Palestinian security prisoners. And even among them there is a split between an unrestrained "logistical" arm and a pseudo-naive "political" arm, which whines with self-righteousness that "they are treating us like an enemy."

But the contortions won't help: There is an enemy on the right. Anyone who behaves like an enemy, walks like an enemy and makes the sounds of an enemy - at least let him not complain about being treated like an enemy. And don't forget: Let the IDF win.