If the pictures of last week's destroyed outposts had been of Bedouin villages or illegal houses in the Galilee, the whole country would have been up in arms. Leftist author Amos Oz would have run to build the destroyed homes with his own two hands, the media would have incessantly interviewed the children who were thrown out of their beds in the middle of the night and enraged Arabs would have ignited all the mixed Jewish/Arab towns throughout Israel.
But Jewish children in their pajamas standing in the freezing cold outside their destroyed houses; Torah scrolls crumpled in the mud amidst the ruins of synagogues none of that is 'news'.
There is no dearth of rivalry within the Left; both personal and ideological. But when they face off against the settlers and the Right, they present a united front. There are no 'extremists' in the Left. You can be funded by foreign governments to directly undermine your country and aid its declared enemies; you can organize violent demonstrations weekly, stoning IDF soldiers, injuring over 700 (!) soldiers and Border Police; you can refuse to serve in the army; you can break the law and riot as much as you want. If you are a leftist, fighting the Left's battle of disintegration and retreat you are in the consensus; you have a reserved seat at the round tables, in the universities, on television and ironically even at meetings with the settlers.
On the other hand, if you settle the Land of Israel with dedication, but not exactly according to the ideological nuances of one yeshiva or another you are alone. On the morning after the destruction, no Amos Oz or other spiritual leaders will be there for you. The rabbi of one sub-group will be afraid to come to encourage and lend legitimacy to the outpost of the other sub-group. And vice versa.
When the home of Nati Ozeri was destroyed along with all the belongings inside and his widow and small orphans were thrown out into the frozen Hebron night, I came with just a few people to help. No settler leader or spiritual guide was there. In my eyes, this is the underlying reason that those thousands who considered themselves firmly ensconced within the consensus and the law suffered the same hell just a few years later.
The fear of supporting the basic rights of the person whom we perceive as more extreme than we are paralyzes us all. One does not have to agree with the controversial book, Torat Hamelech or the 'price-tag' operations in order to stand with the families whose husbands were expelled from their homes by army orders originally reserved for terrorists and were then charged with spying.
As a resident of Samaria, I feel humiliated by the way we treat ourselves. Is it a surprise that we get the same treatment from the pogromchicks and Israeli society? The way that society relates to the settlers is simply a reflection of how we relate to ourselves. If the heads and rabbis of the settlement movement do not pick the Torah scroll out from the rubble and mud and rebuild Mitzpeh Avichai with their own hands their message is clear: Those people in the outposts are 'extremists', so the abomination that was perpetrated against them is legitimate. Why should the rest of the Israeli public think otherwise? In the meantime, the evil winds are blowing and every week the militias in black show up in the middle of the night, biting off another house and another family.
When Ehud Barak sent the security forces to destroy Ramat Gilad, I came there to be with the residents of the outpost. Speaking before the large group that had assembled there, my assessment was that Netanyahu would not let it happen. "He has primaries in another month," I said. "He will not campaign for me. But as to the outposts that are not supported by the settler mainstream, Bibi calculates unfortunately correctly that he can destroy them now without causing himself any damage. So until January 31st you can all sleep soundly. Nobody will come to destroy your homes." It turns out that Barak had attempted to destroy Ramat Gilad without Netanyahu's knowledge; my assessment was correct.
The pressure on the Prime Minister before the Likud primaries may force him to authorize the law to 'legalize' the outposts before voting day. If that happens, it will turn out ex post facto that the fact that I am running against Netanyahu in the primaries has temporarily saved Migron and Givat Asaf.
But even if that happens, it will be just a temporary respite in the losing battle that the settlements have been waging ever since the Oslo Accords were signed. Today, nobody even remembers that Neveh Dekalim was built by the Labor party and Yitzhar by the Likud. Netanyahu has declared his intention to establish a 'Palestinian' state, every week Jewish families are thrown out of their homes, the only city being built in Judea or Samaria is the Arab Wahabi, and on their way to work, the settlers must drive through international border crossings.
The inability of the leaders of the Right and the settlement movement to give their full backing to the different sub-groups within and their inability to establish an ideological alternative to the direction in which Zionism is retreating plays into the hands of the Left and perpetuates the Oslo Accords.
Peace Now did not petition the court against Gush Katif and no legal problems threatened it. The evil winds that threatened Gush Katif are still threatening Ofra and Beit El, Migron and Givat Asaf with or without the law to legalize the outposts.