Opinion

Thousands of New Settlers Homes: Credit of Israel's Peace Camp

The passion of the people evicted from the outpost proves that the derision of Zionism’s core terms has failed despite decades of efforts.

Israel Harel
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Protesters scuffle with the police at the evacuation of the Amona outpost, February 2, 2017.
Protesters scuffle with the police at the evacuation of the Amona outpost, February 2, 2017.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Israel Harel

Esther Brot, 31, a resident of one of the nine houses earmarked for demolition in Ofra, told Army Radio that she and many of her neighbors were saying: “I’m not just wailing over my home; the future of my country, homeland and people’s future is what brought me here. I’m fighting for their future no less than for my home.”

In today’s Israel this terminology is anachronistic. Even veterans whose character was forged in the pioneering youth movements of yore have stopped using it. Many, certainly young people, respond with a smirk and a sneer.

But despite its exclusion from the media, undoubtedly for ideological reasons, the term “homeland” is preserved – without quotation marks – in the hearts and mouths of Esther and thousands like her. The greater the scorn and dismissiveness, the more we see the strength and depth of simple Zionist ideas, without cynicism.

Esther and Avichai Boaron, the leader and main spokesman of Amona, are proof that the oppression and derision of Zionism’s core terms have failed even after decades of deliberate exclusion, and that many people are eager to realize these terms.

The High Court of Justice called them “lawbreakers,” while the media tried to humiliate them. It’s possible – as we’ve seen – to uproot them from their homes. But you can’t stop them from sticking to their faith and drawing many others to follow in their footsteps.

Only people steeped in all this can live, with their children, 20 years in a prefab home on a rocky, windswept hill. These are the innocent who believe that the Zionist terminology – certainly in this case – defeats the violent language of their opponents, who have no vision, no mercy, and in the long run no future either.

The identity of the lands’ owners isn’t the main interest of those who manipulated the High Court to wrench Jews from their homes. Their aim is to dismantle the existing settlements and prevent the establishment of new ones.

Already one may say that this strategy has failed. Eleven years ago, when Amona’s permanent homes were demolished, some 235,000 Jews were living in Judea and Samaria. Now, when the rest of Amona has been evacuated, no less than 423,000 people live in the area despite eight years of suspended construction dictated by Barack Obama.

Now, when the High Court is bringing the sword down on the heads of additional settlements, the government, if it chooses to live, has no choice but to seek ways to stop using this tyranny aimed to destroy the settlements; the bill to legalize the settlements, for example. If the High Court continues adhering to the letter of the law regarding Knesset legislation as well, the government will act literally as well and annex Area C, the land currently under full Israeli control.

There is no doubt that attorney Michael Sfard and his colleagues can beat their chests and boast of these achievements. Had they not pushed the settlement movement to the wall, the prime minister, who always prefers sitting and doing nothing over doing something, would undoubtedly have avoided such legislation. For the same reason they too deserve some of the credit for the declarations (albeit at this stage they’re only that) about building 5,500 housing units in Judea and Samaria despite eight years of suspended construction.

But the main achievement of Peace Now, Yesh Din and their like is educational. Thousands of youths, some of whom were in Amona as these lines were written, have awakened (and woke up their parents and educators) from their study routine – including studies for matriculation exams – to protest the eviction’s injustice. We heard eloquent, rousing things from them about the need to adopt a revolutionary policy and not suffice with mere battles for the information of the Yesha Council of settlements and the rabbis.

Indeed, the young people’s educational commitments amid the pains of the eviction are immeasurable. And that, if you will, is the greatest achievement of the displacement organizations and their funders.

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