Monday, March 26, 2007

Settlers on the Warpath

Probably because Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has no political capital whatsoever, the settler movement has begun aggressively challenging the state in the West Bank. In Hebron, settlers have occupied a house by the main road connecting their settlement with the Cave of the Patriarchs. They claim they acquired it legally, but Palestinians disagree. The government, meanwhile, is dithering while the situation grows more tense, though they did try to block a Peace Now demonstration.

Meanwhile, today settlers have scheduled a march to reoccupy Homesh, which was evacuated at the time of the Gaza disengagement. To prevent clashes, the IDF is securing their route to the settlement site, but the government has pledged to evict them if they try to remain. The settlers do seem prepared for that, so perhaps it will end peacefully. Both these developments, however, show that the settler movement has senses the time is right to try turning back the consensus which drove Israeli policy toward the territories during the last few Sharon years and try to turn it back into a expansionist power.

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