An Inquiry Commission Into the Rioters

It is no longer clear anymore who is posing the bigger danger to the continued existence of the Jewish nation in a democratic state with a Jewish majority - the enemies without or those within?

Yuli Tamir was the most annoying. She, of all people, who was among the leaders of Peace Now, did not condemn the rioters, who were throwing stones, rocks and iron rods, but hastened to demand an inquiry commission to investigate the "extreme violence" exercised in evacuating Amona.

In contrast, Shalom Simhon, also of Labor, did well when he defended both the evacuation and the police, saying it would be "unthinkable to abandon the policemen to the harsh tongue of politicians and to the settlers' threats."

The title of most sanctimonious was easily won by President Moshe Katsav. As far as he is concerned, both sides are equally guilty. "I denounce the attack on the security forces, but the Israel Police must also explain its use of horses and clubs. The violence was not imperative."

Really not imperative? How were those policemen supposed to evacuate Amona? Bare handed, with no clubs and no horses - to make them more vulnerable to the volley of stones, rocks and iron rods that hundreds of rioters were hurling at them, with the intention of injuring them?

Tamir and Katsav slammed the police instead of praising them for deciding to refrain from the use of firearms or gas - thus preventing really bad injuries. One wonders how they would recommend dealing with the gang of crooks who knocked officer Khaled Sharkiya to the ground, dragged him on the rocks, kicked him viciously, spat on him, called him "Nazi" and caused him head injuries - until he believed his life was close to an end and "one of them was going to stab me to death."

The tens of thousands of right-wing activists and settlers who demonstrated on Sunday in Zion Square called to set up a state inquiry commission to probe the police. A commission should certainly be formed, but not to probe the police but the rioters and their leaders, the heads of the Yesha settlers' council, the Knesset members, rabbis and functionaries who fanned the flames, rebelled against the High Court of Justice and an elected government, and brought their youth up to despise the law and the police.

How did the rabbi of Elon Moreh, Elyakim Levanon, put it? "The Supreme Court is bloodthirsty, we have no confidence in the justice system but only in the Almighty."

This same commission should also probe the parents who enabled their sons and daughters to put themselves in such danger, and the teachers who permitted them to leave their schools. Now they roll their eyes piously, saying "a club blow to the head can cripple a child." And a stone striking a policeman's head cannot? Is their no end to the cynicism of this neighborhood bully?

In Zion Square they said the struggle in Amona will wipe away the disgrace of the defeat at Gush Katif. But the truth is that they were defeated in Amona as well - within four hours - and it's hard for them to grasp the scope of the defeat. Because for 30 years they have been setting the state's order of priorities. The religious-nationalist minority gained control over the free majority and foisted an exclusive agenda on it: settlements. Not fighting against poverty, not improving education, not building roads and not developing peripheral townships. All the money and all the efforts were devoted to the settlements.

Now at last it's time to sober up. The public has had enough of the settlers. It no longer sees them as pioneers, but rather as an intolerably heavy load obstructing the way to a possible peace agreement. The large majority sees them as messianic zealots, whose path will lead them to disaster. The large majority wants a compromise agreement, for which it will be necessary to evacuate the West Bank.

When the IDF removed its protection over Yitzhar last week, following the settlers attacking a soldier (not for the first time), the settlement's spokesman advised the IDF to deal with the enemy: the Hamas and Palestinian Authority. The problem is that today it is no longer clear anymore who the bigger enemies are - who are those posing the bigger danger to the continued existence of the Jewish nation in a democratic state with a Jewish majority - the enemies without or those within?