Today Israeli police and and military forces evicted some 250 Jewish settlers from a house in Hebron they had occupied illegally. The action was prompted by a High Court ruling that the government must act immediately to enforce the law.
Settlers say the disputed house belongs to Jews, and that they have the documentation to prove it. The court, however, found otherwise, and declared the occupation illegal.
Some settler leaders called upon Israeli police and soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate the house on the grounds that the eviction is immoral. If, however, a Jew illegally occupies a house that is not his in Tel Aviv, Haifa or Beersheva, is it immoral to evict him, too? Why do the standards of the law not apply to Hebron or to these settlers?
The campaign by these Jews to hold onto the West Bank is undermined when its leaders condone violence and thuggish law-breaking to achieve their aims: rioting settler youth fighting with IDF soldiers, desecration of Palestinian property, including storefronts and graves.
Ultimately, these settlers are fooling themselves if they think their campaign to hold onto pieces of the West Bank will be determined by force, as if somehow they can defeat the Israeli army. Rather, the fate of the West Bank will be determined by politics and public opinion.
By those measures, today’s showdown in Hebron cannot have helped their cause.