Friday, May 25, 2012

Ominous Deja Vu

By Moshe Feiglin

Unease. Déjà vu from Sharon's great Expulsion. It began with an article by Hagai Segal, who depicted the insistence of the residents of Migron not to move from their current location as a sort of childish stubbornness; as if they were picking a fight instead of accepting a solution. After all, Kedumim was founded after it was moved from its original location and ultimately it grew into an anchor settlement with satellite settlements around it. So how dare those 'children' of Migron, who never heard of settler leader Zambish, think otherwise?

After reading that article, I already began to feel that we lost: Migron, Ulpana Hill, it doesn't really matter what exactly will happen on the ground. Just like in Gush Katif, the on the ground struggle is really just make-believe. The real decisions on the fate of the settlements are being made in an entirely different place where the principle has already been determined – or to be more specific – preserved. Now it is just a question of price. The deal is really being closed between the settler leaders with the same old Sebastia/Kfar Maimon mentality and the Prime Minister's advisors.

I spent this week running to meetings with the Likud ministers, trying to convince them to vote in favor of the "Ulpana Law". They are all truly in favor of settlement. They genuinely do not want to see it destroyed. They want to help any way they can. But somehow, I left each meeting with a sinking feeling. Now as then, the real battlefield is above our heads, in a completely different place.

In a lively two-hour conversation, one of the ministers analyzed the entire scheme of considerations and pressures with which the government is dealing. He left no stone unturned as he explained the facts in detail and analyzed them once again. But he gave me no answer.

When we got up to leave, I said to him, "You know, there is a certain moment in which all the right answers are no longer relevant. The political outcome is really not important. The interests of A and the apprehensions of B make no difference; how C will react and what will transpire this way or that are irrelevant. There is a certain space that you enter, without even realizing that you are there. But if you continue from that space to make all of these logical calculations, you lose everything."

"That is true," said the minister (a truly brilliant man) "but we are not in that space."

And then I understood the problem. The problem is that "we are not in that space." And we are not there because of the same mentality that plagued us in Gush Katif. The destruction of Migron and the Ulpana Hill don't move us into that space: They are still being represented by the same Yesha Council, whose very existence will always ensure that we do not reach the space in which the settlers and their tens of thousands of supporters will embark on a genuine struggle to save their Land.

We all had a role to play in Gush Katif. We thought that we were going to Kfar Maimon to battle the Expulsion. But in truth, we were all actors in a make-believe struggle. Everything was already decided before we started out. Our role was to play a bit with the army. The army's role was to be sensitive and determined. Afterwards, we cried. It was everything but a struggle. The role of the Yesha Council was to ensure that we would never get to that space – to the genuine struggle.

The entire settler establishment is dependent on government funding. Even more, it is mentally dependent on the government. It is dependent on its ability to provide the goods; to ensure that the minister will always answer, "We are not there yet."

They refuse to understand that Judea and Samaria are "out;" that the reality has changed since the good old days of Sebastia and Menachem Begin. Today, an underground tunnel is being dug for a train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The most logical and direct route for the tunnel is along highway 443. But that highway is in "Palestinian" territory and thus the tunnel will tortuously wind through the hills ascending to Jerusalem.

Judea and Samaria no longer exist in Israel's long-term plans. All they are is a huge white blotch in the middle of the map of Israel. This is the reality in which we have allowed the Left to corner us. They built a political border fence in the name of security; they created a new reality on the ground without asking anybody. All that is left now is to slowly gnaw away at the settlements until the opportunity for the final blow presents itself. The only new settlement currently being built by Israel is Ruabi – for the Arabs.

True, in the midst of this strategic process, Zambish can still get authorization for a public building here and to finish construction that had already been approved there. But the strategic picture is the negative of the gleeful days of Sebastia. The enticement to remain on good terms with the establishment, the source of the Yesha Council's power, blinds them to the necessity to fight it.

Currently, the settlement leadership is legitimizing the establishment that strives to destroy it. This situation requires us to fight against even the smallest blow to the settlements; to relate to the demand to move one caravan one centimeter as if it was the destruction of Ma'aleh Adumim. The settlers are being led to their destruction by leadership that is incapable of understanding reality. They will always agree to all types of arrangements; they will always buy short term relief in exchange for long term existence; they will always hasten the end instead of distancing it; they will twist and turn with Begin in Migron and will bring the bulldozers closer to the Ulpana Hill.

When Migron will G-d forbid be destroyed, or when the homes on Ulpana Hill will be sealed or even worse (or whatever "creative solution" they will reach there) the Yesha Council will decry the destruction. Nobody expects otherwise. Their role is to ensure that there will be no genuine struggle; that there will be no public atmosphere of doing everything possible for the cause. They will ensure that we will once again be dragged from our homes like harmless sacks of potatoes, while the country will continue with business as usual. Our rightist journalists will write terrible things about Netanyahu. Our Likud members will run from one minister to the next. The hilltop youth will continue to hate the state; our wonderful children will sneak into Migron in the middle of the night and wage a heroic and boring battle: Everyone will play his role in the grand drama whose finale has already been written.

What can you do? Circumvent Zambish. If you need funding for your settlement, turn directly to the relevant minister. Stop paying taxes to Amanah (the settlement organization). Do not vote for a local candidate who does not commit himself to stop funding Amanah. Understand that what made the Expulsion possible then, is making it possible today. 

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