Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meaning of the showdown at Beit HaShalom

I have written about Beit HaShalom in Hebron before. I have been reading steadily the most recent developments in the papers and I have been trying to write a coherent post on why the coming showdown at Beit HaShalom is important. Rafi at Life in Israel nails it better than I.I hope he forgive this stranger from far for co-opting most of his post:
Why this is so important to be done now, can only be answered with one word - elections. The left wing government, and the Supreme Court, need to retain their control of the country. They see the populace turning more and more to the right, and that means they are losing control, and their agenda will lose its momentum. The only plan they have to thwart that is by engendering hatred for the "violent settlers who are anti-state".

How do you get people who send their kids to the elite army units, people who are involved in every aspect of the state, people who are involved in settling the land, to appear as anti-state?

The easiest way seems to be by riling them up by knocking down their homes, destroying their villages, and ruining their lives. They never really turn anti-state, as we saw after the Disengagement. They continued to send their kids to the most elite combat units, they continued serving faithfully despite threats and concerns that they would not. But at least for a few days if they can be upset, and shown in the media as being violent, and get some salient anti-government quotes said in the heat of the conflict, then they can easily be branded and portrayed as being anti-state and violent.

So the Supreme Court decides it is time to throw out a bunch of people who paid for their house, with video proof and full documentation. The government says they are going to do it. The residents and their supporters (of which I count myself) start getting upset and defending their position and themselves as being persecuted, and we are heading for a violent clash.

The leaders of the families at Beit HaShalom are warning that the upcoming fights will make Amona look like it was a cakewalk.

And you know what? I hope they break some heads.

The government is very selectively enforcing the law. Their is tremendous illegal construction going on all over the country, some by jews, and most of it by Arabs and Bedouin. As a matter of fact, there is a report by a comittee appointed by Interior Minister Meir Shitreet recommending today that tens of thousands od dunams of land stonlen by Bedouins in southern Israel and illegaly built upon be formally and retroactively approved, even though nobody went through any process of apllying for permits and making it legal. Just wave your hand and make all that illegal construction, and land theft, legal.

Yet here a few people go and pay full price for a house in a city, and nobody has argued that what they did was invalid or illegal, and the governemt is going out of its way to evict them.

If they think this will be a cakewalk, they are wrong.

The problem is that the residents of Beit HaShalom are playing into the hands of the government. The government is trying to get images of violent settlers into the media right before elections. That is the only way to get the left wingers, and even more centrist people, to hate the right wing, call them violent, condemn them and the like right before elections.

But what else can the residents do? Just walk away peacefully? They cannot. If they do that, then there will be more razings, evictions and disengagements around Yehuda V'Shomron.

They need to fight back. They have to defend themselves against the governments selective enforcement and the governments redifa* of the settlers.

And Rafi, sometimes it takes courage just to chose sides and speak out. If my life was my own and I could afford to leave my children; I can think of no better place to be today or in the coming tomorrows than Beit HaShalom.

*redifa translates as repression.

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