Defeat Settler Terror

The unrestrained rampages by the settlers reveal the lawless and dangerous nature of the settlers' rejectionist front.

The unrestrained rampages by the settlers, and the insults they heaped on soldiers and policemen who participated in yesterday's evacuation of the "Federman Farm" near Kiryat Arba, reveal the lawless and dangerous nature of the settlers' rejectionist front.

The violent behavior of the evacuation's opponents and the content of their curses cannot be called anything but terrorism, in the literal sense of the word: sowing fear and intimidation. It is hard to think of any other population group in Israel - Jewish or, especially, Arab - that could dare to attack the law enforcement agencies and the Israel Defense Forces in this fashion without being severely punished. Admittedly, Israeli society has become accustomed to giving lawbreaking settlers special treatment. But during this evacuation, they crossed even their own previous bounds of lawlessness.

Inter alia, opponents of the evacuation called for "revenge attacks" against the security forces; told IDF soldiers that "you should all be defeated by your enemies, you should all become [kidnapped soldier] Gilad Shalit, you should all be killed, you should all be slaughtered, because that's what you deserve"; and set a "price tag" for the evacuation in the form of assaults on IDF and Palestinian property. They damaged the electronic fence that surrounds Kiryat Arba, threw stones at soldiers and Palestinians who live in the area, wounded two border policemen and vandalized their cars, and even destroyed graves in the nearby Muslim cemetery.

As expected, the leaders of the Yesha Council of settlements responded with feigned and hypocritical shock. Granted, they termed the settlers' statements "extremely grave slander that should be utterly condemned." But then, of course, they added that these statements "were made by hooligans" (as if Itamar Ben Gvir and Noam Federman were not the darlings of the settler ideology), and even whined and threatened that "this does nothing to lessen the severity of the government's actions in Hebron, including evacuating a farm where Jews have lived for two years and bringing Palestinian policemen into the city."

In essence, this is an expression of open support for the scandalous statements made by the "hooligans" - that the IDF has become an army "that protects Hamas, the Ishmael Defense Forces." There is no doubt that now, all the cards are on the table. It is clear to everyone that the Yesha Council, which in any case is considered too moderate and wishy-washy by the hilltop youth and their fans, has also long since turned its back on national responsibility, and that in its eyes, the law enforcement agencies are legitimate only as long as they serve the council's goals.

Nevertheless, it seems as if this time, the government has finally understood the magnitude of the threat embodied by these crude statements and equally crude acts of violence. Now, when it is completely clear that the mainstream settlers have been dragged in the wake of this wave of lawlessness, the government must continue evacuating the illegal outposts resolutely and forcefully. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who promised to evacuate 57 outposts like the "Federman Farm," must defeat this settler terror. Any attempt at compromise, and any negotiations with representatives of the settler "moderates," would constitute a capitulation to terror and the abandonment of the state to a dangerous group of lunatics who are liable to bring about its destruction.