Monday, March 28, 2005

By defeating the proposal of a referendum on the disengagement plan with an overwhelming majority ( 72-39 ), the Knesset refuted all claims of the Yesha Council and its supporters regarding the undemocratic character of the disengagement plan. The undue understanding which some Yesha representatives express for possible acts of violence by frustrated and angry settlers sounds almost like an early legitimization of such acts. Obvious threats - such as the ones that could be heard during a commemoration service for Baruch Goldstein and the Purim celebrations in Hebron ( Noam Federman comparing Sharon to Haman, stressing the fact that Haman was hung in the end, to name one example ) should be dealt with seriously and with all possible force. On the other hand, we should beware of delegitimizing the settler community as a whole, as long as they keep their protests within the limits of the law and of the democracy which Israel still is. Oded Ben Ami, anchorman of a channel 2 program, was wrong to ask a representative of the Yesha Council why its members had reported to the police about efforts by one or more Jewish extremists to sell handgrenades to them for use against our security forces. Nevertheless, the council crossed a dangerous line when it said in a statement today: "(Prime Minister Ariel Sharon) has ruined chances of bringing the disengagement plan to the people for a decision and thus prevent a violent confrontation and a civil war." I read this as saying that if a civil war breaks out - the chances of which are not great, but they do exist - Sharon will be responsible, not the rightwing extremists many of whom can be found among Yesha activists ( NB: the biggest threat is some lonesome outsider unknown to organized extremists and to the security forces ).

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