Last week, we marked three years to the disengagement. An overwhelming majority of Israelis has an ambivalent attitude towards it to this day: On the one hand, feeling that the experiment has failed; on the other hand, glad that we are no longer in Gaza. But also ashamed of the disgraceful treatment of the evacuees; yet proud of the fact that it turned out that the State is still able to implement something once it decides to do it. There are other views in addition to that, depending on who you talk to.
Yet when it comes to one place, there is no indecision. In the land of the settlers, disengagement is a bleeding wound. It changed not only their relationship with the State, but also the relationship amongst themselves. The central leadership has crumbled, and the settlement movement today is led by wild groups of young people who are openly fed up with Israel and its institutions.
And this anger makes them lose it. Almost not a day goes by without an incident vis-à-vis the security forces. A settler wrests away a soldier’s rifle; a group of children yells “Nazis” at the reservists guarding them; IDF Central Command jeeps are blocked; a police cruiser’s tires are slashed.
On occasion, when a settler is arrested, they impose a siege on the police station and try to get their friend out by force, as if we were some kind of foreign colonialist regime in Zimbabwe or Congo. They are mad at the IDF, show contempt to the law, and refuse to accept the State’s authority. This is the case in the outpost of Migron, as well as the daily infiltrations to the evacuated settlement Homesh and to Joseph’s Tomb; this is the case in settlements such as Yitzhar and Tapuach.
And as always, they do the job for their rivals – because more than any spineless Yossi Beilin speech, they define the place they live in as “not Israel.”
This is a lawless land, lacking respect, where people who are different than us live and conduct themselves in line with codes we don’t understand. It is a land that has rejected all the basic values that hold us together: The respect to IDF soldiers, the sense of solidarity, the realization that the police do an exhausting job under impossible conditions.
These people create a situation whereby, when the day comes, and the agreements are signed on the lawn in Washington, it will be easier to give up this land, which isn’t really ours; this land where not only the laws and landscape are different, but also the people.