There are things that settlers have been doing lately to the army that if they were done by Palestinians would be defined as violence, and even as terrorism. For example, vandalizing the separation fence. The intent was not to destroy the fence but to cause false alarms to harass the soldiers. If a Palestinian had done so, they would certainly have been shot by the soldiers.
And how would the IDF respond if Palestinians scattered tacks on the roads to flatten military vehicle tires? It would be called "cold sabotage" and would have been listed as an act of terror in the statistics. As for the ugliness of that act, it should be noted that it was aimed deliberately against a military ambulance sent to extract a Palestinian wounded in clashes with settlers over the olive harvest. Such examples are evidence of the mounting extremism that has taken place in recent months among some of the settlers. Without wanting so, those extremists are causing Palestinian terrorism.
Cases of blocking an IDF company's vehicle at Yitzhar, or calling soldiers "Nazis" when they accompanied disengagement administrator Yonatan Bassi, who was not able to reach his destination because of the harassment, may not be as severe as the cases mentioned above, but it is clear that the law was broken. Have any of them been arrested or prosecuted? The attacks on the Palestinian olive harvesters and the vandalization of Palestinian property have gone on for years - there's nobody stopping the vandals and harassers.
Senior officers in the Central Command are saying with worry that they used to be certain that no settler would open fire on soldiers in case of the evacuation of settlements - and now they are not so sure. They say there are signs that groups of extremists among the settlers are now completely out of control. Their hostility is not only aimed at the Palestinians, but also toward anyone who symbolizes the Israeli regime. Hopefully, the Shin Bet knows enough and in time, about what the extremists are plotting. If not, the secret service should make finding out a top priority. Meanwhile, the extremists regard the Shin Bet as a hostile body against whom steps must be taken for self-defense, and they pass on to their friends and colleagues how to foil Shin Bet activities.
The hard core extremists among the settlers are in the Samaria district, not Gush Katif. The current assessments are that when the evacuation of Gush Katif begins, "The people from the hilltops" in Samaria will head south to Gaza to join the struggle against the army and police sent to evacuate settlers who refuse to leave of their own volition. The IDF and police are perceived by those "hilltop people" as representatives of a hostile regime.
The same is true in the northern West Bank. Out of the four settlements meant to be evacuated, there is one, Sa Nur, where a group of extremists have moved in declaring they will refuse to be evacuated. The place was once an artists village but they left, and the new occupants have taken their place. As in the case of Gush Katif, the army has plans for an evacuation in Samaria. The plans were prepared even before the matter of compensation was completed.
The army expects all those areas to attract people from outside the areas to try to disrupt the evacuation. They will certainly try to put up new outposts during the evacuation or try to return to the scene after an evacuation to try to re-establish the settlement. It is a waste of time to try to dissuade them with an information campaign. Administrative steps must be taken against them, their weapons confiscated. When they blocked the army vehicle in Yitzhar, there should have been immediate arrests or the company should have been removed from the settlement. If the assessment is that the extremism has reached the point that shots will be fired, action must be taken against the extremists, now.www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/505372.htmlE-mail this article