The debate over the issue of “illegal outposts” is crucial. Well, as crucial as the identity of the Badminton champion of the Maccabiah Games. After all, the only significance of this raging debate is to avert discussion of the truly important issues.
We have to admit that despite the unpleasantness involved in the American reprimands over the unauthorized outposts,
this confrontation has several benefits. The Israeli government and its settlers enjoy every moment, as every minute dedicated to the quarrel over the removal of illegal mobile homes in Judea and mobile washrooms in Samaria is a minute that is not devoted to the truly important evacuations.
Besides, the preoccupation with the “illegal outposts” is a good thing, as it implies that all the other settlements are legal; as if alongside the lawbreaking thieves we see legally sound thieves, who rob and steal in line with the rules.
In addition, the outpost festival allows the official Israel
to present an image whereby the problem – that is, the enemies of the peace process and of an agreement – has to do with reckless hilltop youth, devoid of any restraints or Ritalin.
Yet the truth is that the settlements are an all-Israeli enterprise, whose initiators and preservers both on the ground and in government pursue with a clear mind and cold blood. The Israeli government is not quarreling with the settlers because one cannot have a fight with oneself.
The settlers and their government are of course making the utmost effort to stretch this futile argument as much as is possible, while turning the movement of any illegal pergola in the territories into a musical with many participants, making us grow tired of the mere thought of future evacuations.
It’s unclear why the Americans are drawn into these Tom and Jerry games, while investing energies in chasing each hilltop commune; after all, the moment Maale Esther is evacuated, we’ll see a new outpost, Josef’s Tampons, being set up.
Instead of wasting time and energy on evacuating “illegal outposts,” they would do well to focus on removing illegal settlements and prime ministers who are not prone to pressure.