This newspaper has written a lot in recent months about the upturn in lawless conduct by settlers. In this context, you may think that the state would take a zero tolerance policy towards such actions. But it seems that a very different approach is being taken.
The upturn in settler lawlessness, or more correctly lawlessness among the right fringe of the settler movement, is a direct response to the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. The organizing principle is “never again” – settlers were evacuated from Gaza and they wish to show that they will make things much more difficult for the state in the case of further large-scale evacuations. This is why every minor evacuation now, even just from a single hilltop, tends to spark violence.
It is strange, in this context, that President Shimon Peres has just recommended that the courts expunge the records of 59 people who were detained during acts of protest against the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. “The recommendation,” said a statement from the President’s office, “derives from the unique nature of the disengagement and related events, which were aberrant events in history.”