The settlers camp remains pure
By Zvi Bar'el
8 November, 2009
"Not all of the settlers are Teitels," shout the settlers from their
bunkers. "We must not smear an entire community because of one
killer," chants their chorus, closing ranks whenever one of "their
own," alone or in collaboration, killer or hilltop youth, deviates
from the rules of the game.
They're right. The pure camp of settlers must not be infected by the
likes of Baruch Goldstein, by the "Bat Ayin Underground," by Jewish
provocation in Hebron's Avraham Avinu neighborhood, by the freedom
fighters on the hilltops. Like any nation, the settler nation has its
deviants, terrorists and murderers, and even homosexuals, God forbid.
A nation like any other. The polemic over the question of settlers'
responsibility for the criminals among them is in the best case
irrelevant and in the worst, obfuscates their real sin.
The settlers' crime lies not in raising murderers, or even in
nurturing a culture of hate toward the Palestinians or scorn for the
Tel Aviv "bubble." Their sin is in their settlement itself. They
aren't simply building homes and tending gardens, real estate mavens
taking advantage of the good deal afforded by the Six-Day War. Rather,
they chose to create a separate nation and established one with its
own territory, laws, language, ideology and customs. It is a nation
that conducts foreign policy with the State of Israel, with its own
law-enforcement agency and militias to strike anyone threatening its
borders. It has efficient intelligence whose agents work within
Israel's government and army, and its own public-relations apparatus.
The settlers have turned the State of Israel into their satellite.
Their power is so great that even a superpower like the United States
folds in the face of their obstinacy. What do they care about peace
with the Palestinians or Syria, the Arab peace initiative or the
Iranian nuclear threat? A house in Ofra, a neighborhood in Efrat, a
trailer home in Givat Rahel are far more important to them than the
fate of the Israeli bubble, which in its stupidity knows not where its
"peace process" is truly leading.
Several years ago this settler nation sought to "settle in the hearts"
of the citizens of the Israeli "exile." Then, they still aspired to be
part of the State of Israel, to convince, charm, and explain, as their
slogan went, that Yesha, meaning "salvation," the Hebrew acronym for
Judea and Samaria, "is here." Then, they still believed they needed
the support of the mother country in order to declare an Israeli
Balfour Declaration that would make their state legitimate. They
understood that the attempt to gather themselves under Israel's
defensive shield had failed. The fact that IDF brigades were forced to
cancel exercises in order to protect them, and the enormous cost of
guaranteeing their security, created such strong opposition in Israel
that Ariel Sharon, their erstwhile prince, decided to end their costly
adventure in Gaza and remove the settlers in the Strip. In the settler
narrative, which has succeeded in taking root in Israel, that reason
for the disengagement has been forgotten.
Now Yaakov "Jack" Teitel has come to their aid. He is not "all" of the
settlers, but he is the decoy whose role is to divert the discourse
away from the settlers and the strategic threat they represent onto
various criminological and sociological polemics over whether it is a
person's environment or DNA that turns him into an assassin. A fair
question indeed, but irrelevant. Teitels do not have to be settlers in
order to kill those who don't agree with their views.
The State of Israel will not live or die over such an assassin, or a
dozen more like him. The country is engaged in a national struggle
with the settler state. If there is a strategic threat to Israel's
continued survival, it sits on the hills of Hebron and Samaria. If
there is one force that can bring down the continuation of the peace
process, it is continued building in the settlements. If the U.S.
ultimately chooses to cut Israel off, it will be because of the
Across the Green Line are two states, Palestinian and Jewish, which do
not see eye to eye with the State of Israel. While the Palestinian
state has a chance of reaching peace with Israel, the settler state
sees Israel as a strategic threat and its leadership as a gang of
ditherers, a state threatening to undermine the power of the settler
state. In their eyes Israel is the real exile, dancing to the tune of
a corrupt overlord.
The roles have reversed. No longer are settlers seeking to settle the
hearts of Israelis; they are putting forth an unequivocal demand that
Israelis inhabit the settlers' hearts - or else.