Editorial |

The Mock Eviction

In exchange for this simulated evacuation, with all its accompanying drama, settlers will now extract additional victories for their nefarious enterprise

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Police forces at the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona, February 1, 2017.
Police forces at the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona, February 1, 2017.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

The Israel Police and Israel Defense Forces proved on Wednesday that when they want to, they can be nonviolent. The settlers proved that their blackmailing abilities have not faded and that they will stop at nothing to gain more achievements. The government and most of the Israeli media proved that they will always cooperate with the settlers’ cynical manipulations, which on Wednesday rang up another significant victory.

The police and army were enforcing a court order and evicted a handful of settlers who had built their homes on stolen private land. This eviction should have taken place long ago; it would have been self-evident in a state of law, and not turned into a national debate that kept decision makers and the public preoccupied for months. But the settlers, with the government’s assistance, decided to take what was self-evident and fabricate a drama out of it, all to pave the way for the passage of the scandalous expropriation law next week.

Along the way, the government demolished homes in Kalansua and Umm al-Hiran, a government “price tag” attack to ease the trauma of the Amona evacuation among right-wing voters who believe that settlers should be allowed to do as they please in the occupied territories.

From the start it was clear that Wednesday’s evacuation display was aimed solely to serve these interests. The Amona evictees knew from the start that they had settled on stolen private land, but it didn’t stop them. That’s why they don’t deserve either compassion or compensation. The way they conducted themselves against the security forces that came to enforce the law was a serious act. It isn’t hard to imagine how the police would have responded if Israeli Arabs or Palestinians had thrown rocks or poured bleach on them.

Government compensation – in the form of declaring that thousands of new homes will be built in the territories as a response to Amona – is part of the preplanned false presentation. As was Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s declaration Wednesday that the settlers had “lost the battle.”

That’s incorrect; the settlers in fact won another battle on Wednesday. In exchange for this simulated evacuation, with all its accompanying drama, they will now extract additional victories for their nefarious enterprise. Bennett has already promised a new settlement, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman promised another 3,000 homes and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called Wednesday “a difficult and sad day for the people of Israel.”

A day on which the law is enforced in the State of Israel is not a sad day. If not for the settlers’ violent resistance and blackmail, it could even have been a day of satisfaction, certainly for the minister responsible for law enforcement in this country.

The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

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