From all over, we are being called on to feel empathy and sympathy for the settlers who are being removed from Gaza.
We are called on to identify with their suffering and to feel for them all of the difficulties that the withdrawal is bringing on them. They speak of expulsion and transfer and on being refugees. They want to draft us into their service. They want us to bring down Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his government. They want us to shut down the country.
I am not with them, and I will never be with them. I call on all Israelis to oppose them and what they are doing.
I don’t have pity on them and I don’t identify with them. I did not send them to Gaza; they did not settle in a land not belonging to them in my name. The Gaza settlers went there on their own, on behalf of themselves and for their own benefit.
The land that they built their villas on was stolen from Palestinians, as well as the water that irrigates their green lawns, gardens and hothouses and fills their swimming pools. They built their huge homes with subsidies paid for by Israeli taxpayers. They chose to go where they could survive only with the protection of the IDF. When they put their children in direct gunfire they demand from us to protect them and then claim that we are under direct gunfire.
They have abused law and power
They exploited cheap Palestinian labor and got rich on the sweat of that labor. Their very existence prevented the return of the entire Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in the framework of the Oslo agreements, and as a result Israel continued to control some 30 percent of the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian Authority should have received control of it all – one of the many reasons why the Oslo agreements failed.
They have manipulated Israeli politics for years with a disproportionate amount of power and influence. Since Gush Emunim was established they have abused the law and their power to twist the law in order to steal more and more land from the Palestinians.
Today they are crying that the prime minister is a dictator only because for the first time since 1967 they lost control of the decision making process. Democratic decisions were made by the government and by the Knesset – the most sovereign body in the Israeli government regime, but because the decisions went against them, they call the prime minister and the defense minister “traitors.”
The Israeli government and Knesset made a decision to bring them back home to their State. They will not be refugees and this is not transfer. The government and the Knesset have acted in the best interest of the State of Israel and the people of Israel and that interest is to get us out of Gaza.
Ministers are spit at and cursed
They complain that the government doesn’t speak to them, but when ministers do go to Gaza to speak to them, they are cursed, spit at, boycotted, and faced with brutal demonstrations. The settlers have instituted a regime of psychological terror and fear amongst any other settlers who openly say that they are ready and willing to leave on their own.
They have enlisted God and his self-appointed representatives on earth to threaten and create fear amongst us all. In the name of Judaism they claim that it is forbidden to transfer any part of the Land of Israel to any “foreigner.” Who gave them the right to speak on behalf of Judaism?
They speak about civil war and threaten us that it will break out if the disengagement is implemented. They say that there will be violence and that they will not be able to control it. They walk around with weapons that the state gave to them, and now they threaten us with those weapons.
They continue to build houses and synagogues even after the decision on disengagement has passed through every hurdle in its way. They invite other fanatics to join them in order to prevent the implementation of the decision of the government and the Knesset.
They speak about a democratic right to oppose the decision of the Knesset at the same time that they break the law and threaten to disobey the orders of the army and the police. They call for refusing military orders while they physically and verbally abuse soldiers and police officers who are sent to disperse their illegal demonstrations.
Settlers primary obstacle to peace
They close down main transportation arteries and threaten to disrupt our lives as we approach the disengagement implementation. They speak about “love” but they hate the majority of Israelis who support the disengagement.
They hope and pray that the Palestinians will violate the `hudna` so that the disengagement will take place under fire, and then their prophecies of doom will transpire.
The settlers are the primary obstacle to peace and to a normal life in this country. They are the reason why the State of Israel may lose itself and its soul. They are leading us towards the loss of international support for our very right to exist as a state, and as such they are endangering the continued existence of the State of Israel.
They are crazy fanatics and they enlist their fanaticism against us all. We are fed up with you – get off the roofs and come home quietly!
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.