Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – You can hold me in contempt ANY TIME!
You may recall, dear Jewlicious reader, that the settlers in Gaza have been reacting a little aggressively to the disengagement which they reject and abhor. They have also had the support of numerous rabbis who have advocated that IDF soldiers disobey orders; indicated that they will fight soldiers who will come to remove them; managed to create serious traffic jams in central parts of Israel which will presumably become much worse as the disengagement proceeds; generated regular demonstrations with thousands to tens of thousands of dedicated opponents to the disengagement; in some cases, particularly in northern Samaria, attacked soldiers; and, of course, there have been very strong hints by settler leaders that a civil war is pending with even one settler leader (Efi Eitam) recommending that the IDF collect all settler weapons prior to the disengagement in order to prevent an accident which would lead to more.
Did I mention that whole buffoonish Gazan settler movement to characterize the IDF and the Israeli government as Nazis? Did I point out that Rabbi Dayan of the Rabin pulsa denura fame has indicated he now has permission from kabbalist sages to perform the same curse on Sharon?
So what have Sharon and his peeps decided to do?
They’ve decided to create a sub-class of winners that benefit from threatening the government and the stability of both the state of Israel and the IDF.
We have two slightly conflicting stories about how much exactly has been promised, but the general theme in both the Haaretz and Jerusalem Post (ck, please note the picture of Jewlicious Tzipi Livni, who is not only Minister of Justice and of a political bent that just doesn’t seem very Middlish to me, but she is also, uh, I may have already said, quite Jewlicious) versions is the same: in exchange for quiet and a peaceful pullout from Gaza, the Sharon government has consented to the settler-instituted plan of giving the Gazan Jewish families a large block of Nitzanim land. Nitzanim is between Ashdod and Ashkelon, and represents one of the last unpopulated areas with beachfront in Israel. While the settler neighborhood won’t be ocean front, and is supposed to avoid harming the nature reserve there with its famous sand dunes, it will be close. Expect some encroachment over time.
In the course of the meeting, Livni proposed the establishment of four new towns in the Nitzan area in addition to the possibility of building a new neighborhood in northern Ashkelon. Livni stressed that the Nitzanim nature reserve would not be harmed.
Implementation of the plan would be dependant on a minimum number of settlers moving to each new settlement. Livni added that if the settlers agree to the move, then they would be able to form their own autonomous regional council. She also agreed to defend the plan before the government.
…Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in Tel Aviv…told the head of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, attorney Yitzhak Miron, who is representing the settlers, that the government agrees to the establishment of four new communities in the area of Nitzanim. This latest twist comes despite government intentions to house the evacuees in 1,000 housing units in new neighborhoods to be constructed in the north of Ashkelon.
A second demand raised by the settlers was to allow them to continue to maintain an independent municipal entity to replace the Gaza Coast Regional Council, which will cease to exist following the pullout. On this issue too, the government folded: The settlers were promised that they will be granted independent municipal status, subject to a minimum number of residents populating the new communities and the 400 residential units to be added to the Nitzan community. The number itself was not set at Monday night’s discussion.
…The government also met the settlers’ demand for “guarantees” for the implementation of the Nitzanim plan as a condition for their orderly and quiet evacuation of the Gaza Strip.
According to a high-ranking political source, the government has promised to anchor the Nitzanim plan in a new government decision, as well as a special law that will also anchor the budgetary source for the implementation of the plan in the framework of the 2005 State Budget Law.
The settlers will get to build and own single family homes on 500 square meter plots, not a small matter in space-constrained Israel.
I guess this isn’t such a bad outcome, if they actually stick to this promise and if they don’t destroy the sand dunes, because the settlers do need relocation. This will also give a lifeline to the small town of Nitzan nearby. What isn’t clear is that any of this is being done with a clear assurance of a peaceful departure by the settlers. It surely seems that this is the tradeoff, instead of being done with a sense of goodwill on both sides, but nothing seems locked in and there are no guarantees.
And that is what gets me a little concerned here. There is this lingering bad taste that comes up, not unlike bile when you’ve over-eaten, that what has happened here is that a lot of fist-shaking, screaming and actions that continue to undermine Israeli society and the IDF have resulted in capitulation by the government. I don’t know whether there’s a name for this. I guess we could call the government pusillanimous (ck: www.dictionary.com), or we could call the settlers blackmailers. I dunno, I’m not clever enough to figure it out but I know those settlers are no suckers (fryerim). Nope, those would be the leaders in the government if they don’t get an absolute peaceful pullout in exchange for this significant offering.
Please allow me to recommend that any person who creates a problem during the pullout should be left out of this deal.