Last update - 03:08 13/04/2007
The nightmare on the worshippers' route
By Nehemia Shtrasler
If we had a serious defense minister, the house in Hebron would not have turned into such a complicated affair. The minister would not have fallen asleep on the job. He would have intervened on the first night, three weeks ago.
That same night he would have brought in large military forces and acted quickly, before the settlers could bed down at the site and bring in 80 people, before they had transferred even one mattress there. The army would have received one clear order: immediate eviction. Without hesitation. Without delay. Without papers. Without petitions. Without Meni Mazuz. After all, the defense minister is sovereign in the area. He has exclusive authority.
But instead of a serious defense minister there is Amir Peretz. A coward. A hesitator. A manipulator.
And thus the matter is becoming increasingly complicated. The legal experts are sharpening the explanations, the politicians are celebrating, and the attorney general is clouding the situation even further. Mazuz is allowing Peretz to evict, but not immediately. He has time. So do the settlers, and time is on their side.
And then comes the height of absurdity: The same army that should have evicted them on the first night is now allocating large forces to protect them. Without the army they won't last for even one day. The army is in effect their implementations contractor.
And the competition among the ministers in the coalition is beginning: Who will provide more support to the settlers? Rafi Eitan (Pensioners' Party) says the house must be left in Jewish hands. Eli Yishai (Shas) says this is an entirely legal Jewish purchase, and Roni Bar-On (Kadima) says they have a clear right of purchase. It is quite funny to hear the legal chicanery regarding the settlers' legal right of purchase, in the context of acts of occupation that are all illegal. After all, Israel is the occupier. It has the power, and it is the law. Would anyone dream of allowing a Palestinian family to purchase a house "with a clear right of purchase" in Ariel?
The Hebron settlers have a clear plan: to expand the settlement in the heart of Hebron by creating territorial contiguity between Beit Hadassah and Kiryat Arba, and the house is situated right on the main road, the so-called worshippers' route. We are talking about several dozen extremists who have taken control of the heart of the city, thrown out the legal owners, humiliated the neighbors and made them miserable, causing the closing of 1,500 businesses and the desertion of 15,000 people. That is their Judaism, a lunatic and messianist Judaism, which sanctifies the land and causes misery to human beings.
Their plan also has a Stage 2: When the humiliation and the hatred reach the point of explosion, the major war will break out, the war of Armageddon, which will "cleanse" all the territories of Arabs, and thus the entire Palestinian problem will be solved.
Although Peretz has given orders to evict the settlers, it is now already impossible because he didn't act in time. First we must wait 15 days so they will "evacuate voluntarily," and then they have to be given another 15 days. Why? So that during those 30 days they will bring equipment, additional families, volunteers, sympathizers and yeshiva students from all over the country, as well as ministers and MKs who will visit and express support. And thus, in another 30 days, hundreds of people will be living there, the High Court of Justice will be inundated with requests, and it will be impossible to move anything.
All this should not surprise anyone, because this is the same Peretz who promised to evacuate dozens of illegal outposts, but has not evacuated anything. The same will happen to the house in Hebron. There will be talk, arguments and legal advisers; there will be compromise proposals until May 28, the date of the Labor Party primaries. After that all will be forgotten, and the disputed house in Hebron will become another Beit Hadassah.
And the public, which sees how Israel is turning into a cruel occupation machine, has become totally apathetic. It closes its eyes and hopes that this entire nightmare will pass and disappear.