Tent Cities Are Not Illegal Outposts

As usual, authorities are playing the security card: Israel Police are readying for riots come September and don't have the manpower to deal with two theaters.

Last night it seemed that all roads led to Be'er Sheva and Afula. Suddenly we find that the entire country is one small sushiland. The protest is nearly unstoppable.

But some impatient souls would like the storm to end. The police and certain local authorities are showing symptoms of agitation. There have been attempts at eviction in Tel Aviv, Yehud and Or Yehuda. On Friday, inspectors ordered protesters on Tel Aviv's Nordau Boulevard to tear down their kitchen lean-to immediately. They did not comply, of course.

tent protest – 19072011
Motti Kimchi

As usual, the authorities are playing the security card: The Israel Police are readying for riots come September and don't have the manpower to deal with two theaters. What would we do were we deprived of the possibility of taking the name of security in vain? When you're fighting for your home, you can't also fight for housing.

Violence is just around the corner. Not because the protesters decided to switch to violence, but because the police and city inspectors have decided to be firm. Guessing who's behind the move is a no-brainer.

Up to now the protest leaders came in for nothing but praise, including from President Shimon Peres. Is the lesson then soon to be learned that there is no reward for good behavior, that only violence gets results?

We already know that when it comes to evictions and demolitions, some people are more equal than others. We all know instances of illegal communities that remain even after the courts order eviction. Who would dare remove them?

On Friday evening, state television in its folly presented as a role model the biggest criminal in the territories. He'll show us all how to build whole communities, cheaply and quickly. Cheaply, because stolen private land is cheap and Arab labor is half-price or less. Quickly, because in no-man's-land permits and laws are a joke. Pinchas Wallerstein, adviser on settlement issues at the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, is now the teacher of a generation - a lost generation.

Go lightly to these tent encampments that are not illegal outposts. Those who receive eviction orders in August are the very ones who will receive reserve call-up orders in September.