Yesh Din vehicle following the attack.

Yesh Din personnel, doing the police’s work for it, were attacked this morning by armed Israeli civilians near Havat Gilad. These are the people with whom the Minister of Defense wants to sign a shady deal

Three Israelis – and yes, we have the necessary proof that they were Israelis – attacked a Yesh Din team this morning (Tuesday) near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad. The assault came about a day before the High Court of Justice will hold a hearing on the evacuation of several illegal structures there, while looming above it all is Minister of Defense Yaalon’s suggestion/recommendation to legalize Havat Gilad in return for removing those structures.

The armed Israeli civilians on their way to the attack.

Ironically, the attack was not detached from the legal proceedings: Our team was there to document the illegal construction in Havat Gilad. After viewing the place and driving away, the Yesh Din team found their path blocked by three Israelis, who had arrived on the scene on motorcycles. The Israelis, one of whom was armed, violently attacked the team’s vehicle, broke their windshield and stole their keys. Despite the attack, our team made it back safely to the village of Far’atha, and lodged an official complaint with the Police.

So as not to give the Police an excuse to destroy this investigation as well, we shall not provide more details about the incident. But some things must be said clearly, even though they have been said so often they seem banal: The government of Israel is responsible for this violence.

The settlers of the Havat Gilad outpost, near which the attack took place, have lived for over a decade in a site declared to be an illegal outpost, which was built on lands mostly declared by the Civil Administration as private and cultivated Palestinian lands. Most of the structures in it have been issued demolition orders, but these are rarely enforced.

This is the first stage: turning a blind eye and quietly cooperating – someone provides the outposts with services, and that someone is the various arms of the government of Israel – with the theft of Palestinian lands. Next comes the second stage: Using quiet and daily terror against Palestinians who insist on holding onto their lands next to the outpost. Often, when the government stages a show of evacuating an outpost, comes the third stage, that of violence against soldiers and cops. If you lie down with dogs, don’t be surprised when you wake up with fleas.

And now comes the fourth stage: Violence against Israeli civilians who do the job the government and the police prefer to abandon. Again: As Havat Gilad is an illegal outpost, it is the duty of the government to evacuate it and monitor the illegal construction in it. As it shirks this duty, we fulfill it instead.

The ever-present thread in the history of the settlements is outlawry and violence. The ever-present thread in the behavior of the government is turning a blind eye. This is rather easy when it comes to Palestinians – as far as some of the current government ministers are concerned, after all, the Palestinians are a pain in the behind/thorn in their side – and over the years, the government has learned to accept even attacks on Israelis. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once said that “for Eretz Israel, it is permitted to lie”; now we learn it is also permitted to attack the elderly for it. And not just Palestinians.

These are the people with whom Minister of Defense Yaalon wants to make a repugnant deal, according to which the structures built in Area B will be removed, and in return the government will pronounce the rest of the treif to be kosher. In doing so, he also will quietly affirm the violence which has followed the outposts since their creation, the violence without which they would not exist.

And so it goes.