A painful but necessary evacuation

There is no need to agree with their political views in order to share their pain. No, they are not a group of fascists. They are not racist. There is a racist and hooligan minority among the settlers. There is such a minority in every human community. I doubt there is such a minority in Amona. They are not colonialists. Even if they try very hard, and they are not trying very hard, they won’t reach one percent of the horrors committed, for example, by the French in Algeria. Neither them nor the IDF or Israel.

Nevertheless, the evacuation of Amona is justified. But the fact that the evacuation is justified doesn’t stem from anyone’s disinheritance from their land. They settled on rocky ground. No one proved ownership over that land and no one worked that land. They made the wilderness flourish. They did it, no one else. They built a glorious community. But even back then they were informed that the outpost was illegal. The political passion, the faith in the Greater Land of Israel, overrode any government order and any administrative order against the construction. For with clever strategy you wage your war.

Police forces in Amona. The residents built a glorious community, but even back then they were already informed that the settlement was illegal (Photo: AFP)

Police forces in Amona. The residents built a glorious community, but even back then they were already informed that the settlement was illegal (Photo: AFP)

But this is not a legal issue. I beg forgiveness from the legal experts and judges, but in a legal framework, under the circumstances that have been created, a cure could have been found. The European Court of Human Rights dealt with a similar precedent in the 1990s. Refugees from the Greek side of Cyprus claimed their property—real homes, not just rocky ground—which remained on the side occupied by Turkey. The court dismissed the claim and ruled that years had passed, the circumstances had changed, new people (settlers from Turkey) had settled on their lands, so the solution would not be returning the homes and evacuating the settlers. If that’s the case where real homes and estates are involved, it should apply all the more so to rocky ground.

So why is the evacuation justified nonetheless? Because it’s not a legal issue. It’s mainly a political issue. Does the national, Zionist interest justify settling outside the settlement blocs too? Do we want a solution of one big state? Do we want an entity that will turn either into an apartheid state or into a bi-national or Arab state? These are the options. This is what is being offered to us by anyone who supports the outposts or the expansion of construction beyond the settlement blocs. This is where that part of the right wing is leading us to. It’s the most anti-national and anti-Zionist direction. It’s not the intention, it’s the outcome. There is no support among the people for an expansion beyond the settlement blocs. There is no support among the people for the establishment of one big state. But there is a majority in the coalition. That’s the Israeli paradox.

It doesn’t mean, might I add, that the solution is an end to our control of the territories. Or two states. We must consider other options. A Palestinian state, at the moment, is also a recipe for disaster. Almost all the arguments presented by the right wing in this context are true. The right wing’s predictions, admittedly, have a tendency of fulfilling themselves. The left should pay attention. But the fact that a Palestinian state is not on the agenda doesn’t mean that we have to march towards a disaster of one big state.

Precisely because of this logic, which distinguishes between what will remain part of Israel in any event and what is located outside the settlement blocs, the Regulation Bill should be passed and applied to the 4-6 percent of Judea and Samaria lands where the majority of Jews reside. Therefore, the evacuation of individual homes of Jews in a community located within the blocs, which could happen after Amona, is a double injustice: Both legal and political. Legal, because there is an international legal precedent against such an evacuation; and political, because as long as the location is within the blocs, there is no need to evacuate them. It won’t benefit anyone. It won’t save us from the bi-national state. Everyone will lose. The Zionist left should understand that and distinguish itself from the anti-Zionist left, which only wants to cause damage and pain.

There is no need to hide the dispute, but there is also no need to widen the rift. Both those who are against settling beyond the blocs and those who support the evacuation should share the evictees’ sorrow. They are our brothers and sisters. Their tears are our tears too.