Saturday, February 4

The Evacuation of Amona

Amona is an illegal outpost that is an extension of Ofra in the territories. Last week we witnessed the evacuation of Amona, which left many of us in shock. The shock was not from the action of evacuation but the reaction to the evacuation. There was so much stock piling of homemade “weapons” if one could call it that. The kippa-cladded hooligans with “tsitsit” were there again in full force. The scenario was rather similar prior to the evacuation of Gush Katif in August 2005, where all kinds of rather interesting innovations were used against the Security Forces. These hooligans, many of whom were not more than 14 or 15 years of age, were sent by their parents to wage their wars against law and order in the evacuation of illegal outposts.

There does not seem to be any limit to the violence of these right wing protesters. After all these years of the intifada, it seems that many of the parents of these hooligans had learned something from the Palestinians – to send their children into the thick of the fray. This tactic was effective in Palestinian street during the intifada years. They allowed their children to demonstrate violently against the police who were carrying out their duty to evacuate the illegal outpost. The authorities must hold the parents accountable for the violence that occurred including the injuries sustained.

To add fat on the fire of hate for law and order, the right wing members of the Knesset who were present are not blameless either. Their presence is a provocation for violence taking into account their extremist right wing views and sympathy for the teenage violators of the law. It is a disgrace if members of the Knesset instigate right wing violence against authority. After all, MKs should set an example against violence. Instead, they were involved in the provocation of the violence. They are accountable for what had happened no less than the parents of these hooligans.

The violence was great. The scenario of violent hooligans tempered with determination not to cooperate with the authorities was a scene that was unacceptable. Israel had signed agreements with the US on evacuation; even if it is unilateral, it does not give the settlers and their supporters the right to behave the way they did. What is even more galling is the fact that these kids took the law into their own hands and decided who was allowed into the beleaguered outpost and who was not.

There is no doubt that what had occurred in Amona was the result of the radical right wing (could one call it Zionist?) ideology which placed more importance on occupation of greater Israel rather than decency, justice and Israel’s long term interests. Something is rotten in “Settlerstan” no less than in “Hamastan”. It seems that this right wing form of settler religious fundamentalism is just as dangerous as the fundamentalist Islam of Hamas. Both are enemies of peace! While it is true that Israel has no real partner for peace especially since the Hamas victory, this does not justify the behaviour of right wing religious zealots under the questionable guidance of their radical rabbis. What has happened to religious Zionism if it closes its eyes to these acts of violence? There is a polarization of Judaism in the territories with the anarchy of the so-called religious youth taking the helm and becoming a dangerous element running out of control. In the future, there will be further evacuations of illegal outposts and violent scenarios will accompany these evacuations.

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