Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Israel Dismantles Outpost. Sort of.

Haaretz says today that Israel dismantled a small outpost outside of the Kiryat Arba settlement, which had been expanded on Tuesday to include two new families. But the article says, "The settlers are expected to build the outpost again on Wednesday, as is customary following their dismantlement by security forces."

This was after the Youth for Israel movement established 11 new outposts earlier this week.

Also earlier this week, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said, "the IDF has not received orders to prepare for the evacuation of outposts in the West Bank." One of the movement's members, Shlomit Amitai, said:
"What we do is like bandaging a mother's wounds," Amitai says, explaining the proverb's meaning. "This empty earth is a wound that must be bandaged with a settlement."
And by "empty earth" she means, "earth currently being cultivated by Palestinian farmers who, as non-Jews, have no rights to the land."

At the beginning of this whole spat with the US over settlements, activists and the blogosphere predicted that Netanyahu would order a few far-flung outposts dismantled, which would inevitably make it into the news and make it look like he was making an effort to stop settlement expansion. And that prediction seems to be all too true.

An opinion column on Ynet today says:
We have to admit that despite the unpleasantness involved in the American reprimands over the unauthorized outposts, this confrontation has several benefits. The Israeli government and its settlers enjoy every moment, as every minute dedicated to the quarrel over the removal of illegal mobile homes in Judea and mobile washrooms in Samaria is a minute that is not devoted to the truly important evacuations.

Besides, the preoccupation with the “illegal outposts” is a good thing, as it implies that all the other settlements are legal; as if alongside the lawbreaking thieves we see legally sound thieves, who rob and steal in line with the rules.

In addition, the outpost festival allows the official Israel to present an image whereby the problem – that is, the enemies of the peace process and of an agreement – has to do with reckless hilltop youth, devoid of any restraints or Ritalin.
What isn't mentioned here is that even these random, youth-initiated, illegal outposts are protected by the army and are sooner or later provided with paved roads, electricity and plumbing by the Israeli government. They literally could not even set up a tent without the support of the IDF. If Netanyahu didn't want them to set up house, there would be no need for a settler-military confrontation, he could simply ignore them. But what he's after is the creation of "facts on the ground", a phrase that become synonymous with Israel's race to populate the West Bank with Jews before the world puts its foot down about the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.

1 comment:

Pauline said...

Hmmmmm... Don't know what's worse, Cohen's pompous style, his British need to mention the weather AT ALL, or using "authentic" terrorists. All in all, how could this be complete without Ahjmed?