The police destroyed a number of illegal structures in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar on Tuesday. This is not dramatic news. The drama started with the immediate settler reaction to the police action. Dozens of settlers marched towards the IDF post located at the edge of the settlement where they carried out a pogrom. The settlers removed six reserve soldiers from an army tent and began to destroy the place.
The reserve soldiers who were pulled away from their civilian lives to protect the settlers, begged them not to burn their tent so that their personal possessions would not be destroyed. The rioters spared the tent but destroyed everything else at the post. The soldiers looked at the scene in shock and did nothing. When the rioters left, the post that was meant only to protect the rioters themselves, looked like a Jewish shtetl after the departure of the Cossacks. This is no exaggeration. The photos of the scene were splashed across television and the Internet.
The “Kingdom of the Mountain” that has arisen alongside the state of Israel has been provocative for years. But this recent act has reached a new level. These provocateurs do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty, despise its values, see the state as a rebel entity that desecrates their values. This group is gaining power in front of our eyes. Dozens of settlers destroy an IDF army base on their settlement and return home freely. I believe that this has not happened in Israel ever. They have no fear, they have no regret, they have no God. They are not akin to small areas of weeds in a field. They are the field and we are the weeds. It is either them or us.
After the incident came the usual reactions. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded with the usual lip service. A couple days prior, Ya’alon called the settlers slashing the tires on an IDF officer’s jeep at Yitzhar “terror for all intents and purposes.” While Ya’alon was speaking, another IDF jeep had its tires slashed at the same spot in the settlement. Then, the events described above took place.
Ya’alon stood before the cameras exuding authority and promised to bring the rioters to justice. A few hours passed before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a statement condemning the incident and said he gave his backing to Ya’alon. If the story was not so scary, I would laugh.
A few days after the incident, a “wave of arrests” in Samaria was reported in the media. It turns out that two youths were arrested. A true wave of arrests. How will this end? As it always ends. Either the police will have no evidence or insufficient evidence, or will be released on condition, and will be tried, but merciful Israeli judges will order that they cannot reside in Yitzhar for a number of months or they will be sent to do public service, or something of that order.
All means are used to fight terror, Mr. Ya’alon. You know how to fight terror first hand. You, Mr. Ya’alon cannot label something as terror and then fail to provide the security forces all available resources to fight it.
Jewish terror, that is growing up in our midst is an existential threat. It is a greater existential threat than both Palestinian terror and corruption of state institutions as demonstrated by Ehud Olmert. This cancer is quietly eating away at the state from the inside, below the radar. When it begins to be painful there will be nothing left to treat because it will be too late. We are at a decisive turning point. Ya’alon is a principled person, and he is a straight shooter (sometimes this causes problems). He is a man of the rule of law and is a real statesman. His political power also depends on the settlers, but I am certain that the factions responsible for these violent acts against the IDF are reprehensible to him.
The sovereign in the West Bank is supposed to be the IDF under the mandate of the minister of defense. I hope that Ya’alon will consider the situation over the weekend and will reach the necessary conclusion: the time has come to instill order in the West Bank. The time has arrived to restore the sovereign. The fact that the problematic elements among the settlers pay no notice of the IDF, the police, and the state, is distressing.