Israel and the Diaspora in the Territories

Complaints are being leveled against the government as if in a seminar with the trite title of "Israel's security: Yesterday, today and tomorrow." Where is this leading? When will we have security? How can we fight terrorism effectively?

The complaints are being leveled against the government as if in a seminar with the trite title of "Israel's security: Yesterday, today and tomorrow." Where is all this leading? When will we have security? How can we fight terrorism effectively?

The left is displeased that the army is entering refugee camps, stopping ambulances and preventing women in labor from getting to hospitals. The right wants just a smidgen more force, a few more tanks, and then everything will be fine. The two sides are sitting by the sand table and directing maneuvers in a logical conquest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - a fair, humane and enlightened conquest, one that will supply food to the hungry and will not harm women and children, one that will make it possible for the 600 detainees seized in Tul Karm to pray when they want.

The essence of the intellect is devoted to coming up with a well-grounded and agreed-upon definition of the term "a ticking bomb." The left says that only those who have explosives strapped to their bodies fit the definition, while the right says it should be extended to reach the highest rank - perhaps as far as Allah - that makes obscene promises to suicide bombers. Another branch of thinkers is interested in the effectiveness of a fence and a buffer zone, and in the political physics of trenches and mines.

The only thing no one wants to hear about is the logical contradiction, the one that insists on failing to understand how it is possible to occupy so as to end the occupation, how it is possible not to make concessions in order, thereafter, to fulfill Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's eternal promise "to make painful concessions."

Because this contradiction appears more and more logical the more the war on terrorism manages to cover up the expansion of one state into the territory of another and when the history of this war starts anew every day - sometimes with a terrorist attack at a banquet hall in Ashdod, and sometimes with the liquidation of a Fatah, Hamas or Tanzim activist.

An example of what we're talking about is the statement that the Israel Defense Forces is operating in Tul Karm and Jenin in order to protect the residents of Netanya and Hadera. The real reason the IDF is there is that there are 200,000 Jews living in areas that are slated to become a part of the Palestinian state - not to protect them (although it is a noble goal to protect a Jewish diaspora in an enemy state), but because they are hindering the IDF from leaving the territories. The IDF will remain attached to the territories as though they were hot tar even if there are no more terrorist attacks. Because as long as there are Jews in territories that Israel has annexed de facto, Israel will continue to demonstrate sovereignty de facto. And the only way a state can apply this sovereignty is by means of its army.

Within the past year, the Jews there have ceased to be settlers, even in the consciousness of the left. By now, they are brothers in distress, the unfortunate victims of terrorism. Suddenly this partnership with the settlers has come into being - a partnership that is not religious or national in character, but the kind of thing one finds among persecuted groups, victims.

So it isn't that "Yesha [Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza] is here;" but rather Israel is there. If there has been any sort of victory over terrorism, it appears to have been recorded in this embrace between the State of Israel and the Jews in the diaspora of the territories - in the shifting of the discourse from the basic elements of the conflict to the tactics of tank commanders, and from dealing with "brothers in distress" who reside in Netzarim and Ofra to a conceptual discussion about the checkpoints method.

National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu can leave the government quietly because it no longer has a role to play. Its work is completed. As long as the terrorism continues, the settlements - as an enterprise - are safe, even if the settlers continue to be killed. After all, a state that has extended its sovereignty cannot afford to lose its prestige by making concessions to terrorism that sprang up because of the extended sovereignty.

Now the government is exempt even from stating that it is defending the idea of a Greater Israel - the defense of Jews who live in the territories goes over well in every political salon. There is no longer any need to imagine that if that "great land" was void of settlers, it would be possible to leave it, and the sacred idea would wait, or remain in its proper place - in a dream.

Therefore, in the eyes of the settlers, there can be no other solution than the re-occupation of the territories and the involvement of the State of Israel and its soldiers in them. That is exactly what is happening. Because every dialogue with the Palestinians, every political move, will make the settlers revert to their distinct status and will reveal the conflict under the light of its true cause.