“We’ll let settlers ‘dry up’ on hilltops”, the late Yitschak Rabin once said.
“Peace crimes” will be committed.
Amona is in danger. This is the first outpost slated for destruction. Then all the communities not inside the route of the security fence, but also not inside one of the “large settlement blocs” – those which fall into the category of “isolated settlements.” As such their population is numbered in the tens of thousands, possibly as many as 100,000 Jews who might stand to be uprooted from their homes.
These Jews are the guardians of the mountain ridge of Judea-Samaria (Nablus-Ramallah-Jerusalem-Hevron) which is vital for Israel’s security and sovreignity. If they go, the entire Jewish presence in the historic homeland will be over. These are the Jews who keep open the door for construction and more houses.
Yair Lapid and Benjamin Netanyahu both believe in a kind of Allon plan in which hundreds of thousands of Israelis will become second-class citizens. First, though, they will bury the Levy Report, drafted by three prominent judges seeking to end the legal injustices against Jews in their own land.
In September 1995 schools in Judea and Samaria were left unprotected because of a dispute between police and the IDF over who is responsible for guarding educational institutions in the territories. A month later, Beit El residents denounced the fact that the IDF had removed an outpost on the Ramallah road in Al-Bira that provided security for motorists driving to and from towns in Samaria. This is how the Oslo war began, when the “settlements”, deprived of government funding and subject to constant Arab terror, were expected to collapse. The Israeli press was full of stories of settlers anxious to escape back over the Green Line if they were suitably reimbursed. The homeland was on sale.
In the past few weeks Jewish residents in the territories have been targeted by a new wave of terror attacks – by shootings and rocks. From the beginning of the first Intifada until 1994, 154,754 stones were thrown, 5,655 Molotov cocktails were also thrown, there were 2,979 assaults and stabbings, 281 shootings, and 256 hand-grenades were thrown. It began with stones and ended with suicide attacks and throat-cutting. The IDF is now committing the same mistakes, leaving Jews unprotected in the frontline.
From its inception, the Zionist movement comprised factions which differed on almost every issue, but, miraculously, everybody agreed on the implementation of Jewish sovereignty. In this they saw both an answer and a cure to anti-Semitism, the curse of the Diaspora, and to the Jews’ miserable existence in exile.
So what would leaving “settlements” behind under Arab sovereignty mean – if not subjecting them to foreign rule and reconciling their inhabitants to life in a new Diaspora? That’s why cynical, anti-Zionist Jewish journalists in the US campaign daily against “the settlers”.
On the practical level, leaving “settlements” behind under Arab Palestinian rule would be a prescription for slaughter. Despite even apparently binding agreements, the new rulers would find endless reasons to pick on the Jewish settlers. They would do whatever they could to embitter their lives until they disappear. The existence of settlements on “Palestinian lands” would be a thorn in their flesh.
Either way, the settlers would feel humiliated under a hostile rule and in hostile surroundings, and would have little choice but to defend themselves actively. Or to pack and leave.
The outpost of Shvut Rachel, “the Return of Rachel,” is named after a young mother, Rachel Druck, who was killed in a terrorist attack on a bus in 1991 just before the conference in Madrid. “Jewish life grows again in this place,” the first residents had declared.
David Druck decided to bury his wife’s body at Shiloh. Hers was the first grave since the town was founded thirteen years earlier. “A grave is stronger than a house,” David noted. “A house you can move. A grave you can’t move. This is my answer to the killers”. He is wrong, in a moment of suicidal temptation the State of Israel can move the graves. It did so in the Gush Katif expulsion.
According to the last Peace Now report, 8.680 Jews currently live in the 126 outposts. Their lives and homes are endangered. they are Jews sleeping on a wire.
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book “A New Shoah”, that researched the personal stories of Israel’s terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.