The Zionist Conspiracy
Friday, May 19, 2006
Kadima: Withdrawal Not As Broad As Reported
Today's Jerusalem Post has an important report that according to Prime Minister Olmert and additional unnamed Kadima sources, "the eventual number of settlers to be evacuated will be much lower than 70,000," as has been widely reported.
There are now around 70,000 residents of Judea and Samaria living east of the proposed fence route, so this report probably indicates two things: First, that Olmert realizes that he will not be politically strong enough to implement a forced evacuation of 70,000 Jews and that he is seeking to reach some sort of unspoken compromise with the settlement movement, and second, that the security fence will in some areas be moved slightly east to include more settlements and settlers.
In any scenario that Olmert has in mind, tens of thousands of Jews would be forced to leave their homes and at least dozens of communities would be razed. But while those who support the settlement project are therefore not likely to publicly rejoice, they should understand that working to limit the scope of Olmert's unilateral withdrawal is a vital interest of the settlement movement, and can be attempted without compromising political opposition to Olmert and the idea of unilateral withdrawal.
For example, if Hebron's Jewish community, Kiryat Arba, Beit El and Ofra (all of which are outside the fence) can be spared destruction, the settlement movement will have secured a key achievement.
In my opinion, Olmert will look to spare just those communities for three reasons. First, because giving up Hebron and Kiryat Arba will especially inflame religious and traditional Israeli Jews, second because Kiryat Arba and Beit El include more than 12,000 residents, and third, because many Yesha Council leaders reside in Beit El and Ofra, and Olmert realizes that removing them will result in an even more bitter political struggle that he may not win.
Most likely, unfortunately, the settlement movement's leadership will refuse to even quietly hold a dialogue with Olmert. While as a matter of principle that approach would be understandable, it would almost inevitably result in a split within the settlement movement, with those within the fence (who comprise more than 70 percent of Judea and Samaria's Jewish residents) refusing to strongly oppose Olmert so as to protect their own interests, leaving those outside the fence completely politically isolated, and easily marginalized as extremist.