Well, well, well, after years of enjoying the support and protection of the state of Israel and of the IDF in particular, the settlement movement has decided to teach others a number of lessons:
1. How to be thankless. They are now calling Israel undemocratic; labeling their patron, Sharon, a traitor (and far worse), and; applying pressure to anybody among them who supports the government.
2. How to undermine democracy. They are breaking the law on a consistent basis. Usually the law-breaking has not involved physical harm to others, but economic damage has definitely been caused.
The reasoning they tend to use involves the illegitimacy of this government, its prime minister, the supreme court, and their decisions. They attack the media as if it is one big illegitimate block that aligns itself with the state and avoids real reporting. They attack the police for using “evil” tactics and the IDF for being politicized.
There remains not a single organ of the state which is not under attack. What is more disturbing is that rabbis are given respect not accorded to the government or its organs.
3. How to significantly weaken the IDF. This one is a particularly unfortunate decision they have made. By encouraging mass defections and mass refusal to serve or to obey orders, they have opened the floodgates. As Chief of Staff Halutz told their leadership today, they are establishing a prededent wherein Leftist secular soldiers could refuse to serve in, say, Hebron. The very act of refusal of a legitimate and peaceful government decision, and the obvious attempt to provide rabbis with greater authority than commanders also assures the IDF that in the future at least one part of its forces may not be reliable.
4. How to pin down the IDF, the police and essentially shut down the state. Now this is a particularly valuable lesson that the settlers are providing to the Palestinians.
First of all, the settlers were able to smuggle a few hundred people into Gaza last week, proving that Gaza cannot be sealed. The Palestinians are giddy with joy.
Second, the settlers are now planning to recreate their efforts at Kfar Maimon last week by doing it in two places simultaneously. Why? Because they were able to put a great deal of stress on both the IDF and police manpower capability at Kfar Maimon. They believe that two centers will really weaken these forces’ ability to respond and control large numbers of people. Oh my, are the Palestinians happy about this. I hear they are already pulling off their shelves the dusty copies of Ghandi’s abridged “How to Practice Overwhelming Civil Disobedience” and watching carefully to see how many locations and how many thousands of peaceful protesters are sufficient to overwhelm the IDF. In a coordinated move, one can see how this would work nicely with a coordinated attack from an enemy such as Hizbullah in Lebanon.
And so it goes. A legitimate disagreement with a government decision has made the settlers decide they will undermine everything about the state that has enabled the state to last this long and to have a promising future. I’m sure they’re telling themselves that the harder they make it, the better it will be in the long run because they will scare off any government that wishes to affect settlers in the West Bank. What they don’t seem to want to realize or acknowledge is that they are causing harm that is stressful to the system and the state, and jeopardizes both its democracy and its deterrent power with respect to its military and its police.
Pretty thankless, if you ask me.