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The Militant Extreme Right Challenge

03 June 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

“Arik is a traitor!”  “So fell our heroes!”  “Evacuation of settlements will lead to civil war.”  The militant extreme right in Israel is at it again.  The first two remarks are slogans being used to describe Ariel Sharon’s policy of accepting the ‘Road Map’ (with its 14 reservations) and the ‘civil war’ comment was made by Avigdor Leiberman, leader of the right wing National Union Party and a cabinet member.  Now some of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) rabbis have added “G-d gave us the Land of Israel and no government (read:  mortals – even if elected) have the right to give it to non-believers.”  Sound familiar?

Remember 1995 and the incitement against Oslo II and PM Yitzhak Rabin?  Just that then he was also called a Nazi and some extreme right wing rabbis called him a ‘Pursuer’ or one chasing down other Jews in order to destroy them (meaning those living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza).  Yigal Amir got the hint and assassinated the prime minister. 

The Yesha leadership is organizing massive protests. They will show up at major intersections with signs and handbills in an effort to halt any concessions in the belief that ten years later not only is Oslo mired in a terror ridden failure but the ‘Road Map’ is one step worse, possibly leading to the destruction of the state.  Fair enough.

The issue is whether all protests and lobbying efforts remain democratic or whether the ‘red line’ will be crossed into violence on a popular level in demos and by actually blocking transportation arteries (major or otherwise) or if there will be respect for the law.  Furthermore the General Security Services are closely guarding the PM and other officials for fear of another political assassination. 

As noticed over the past two years Israel contained terrorism, crushing its central infrastructure.  The Aqaba Conference is a partial result of the Palestinian understanding that terror will not lead them to their ends.  At the outset of the violence Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat thought Israel would collapse as a result of the wanton violence.  He was mistaken.

The Aqaba Conference and peace with the Palestinians is less important than internal peace among the Jews.  The government was freely elected and has a mandate to negotiate.  Any agreement with the Palestinians will have to be brought before the Knesset and passed by the elected representatives of the people.

These extremists have no right to undermine the democratic process, trampling the law and violently imposing their opinions on others.  The invocation of G-d is an excuse to rally young, hot - headed militants to take illegal activity which is already being done by the hilltop youth in the mountain region of Judea and Samaria where proto-settlements were established without permits.  If civil conflict breaks out the far right will be responsible.  The Rabin assassination eight years ago was a watershed.  Let us hope the Yesha leadership shows responsibility, reigning in the radicals.

If not, then administrative detention may be the answer, the same way as it is a weapon in battling Palestinian terrorism.