Bradley Burston of Haaretz unloads:
They say the first step in dealing with rage is acknowledging it. So here it is: I have become a bigot where it comes to the settlement movement.
I believe that the officials, the activists, and the Diaspora bankrollers and rooting section of this movement have ruined my life. They ruin it a little more every single day.
The extent to which they have embittered the lives of millions of Palestinians is incalculable. I won’t pretend to know what they go through or how it feels. For the moment, I just want to talk about what the settlement movement does to its fellow Israelis, and why so many of us are so fed up.
We struck a bargain years ago. This was how it worked for me: I would donate a month a year away from home to keep them safe and in exchange the movement did everything it could to antagonize the Palestinians, to make it impossible for them to have a state of their own, to make it impossible for Israel to make peace with them.
I wanted to make peace with the Palestinians. I wanted them to have a state. I wanted the occupation to end. Some bargain. I lost.
I struck another deal. Year after year I would pay high taxes to subsidize settlement houses, their private highways, their utilities, their yeshivas, the bottomless cost of safeguarding remote and illegal outposts. A theater in Ariel.
In return, settler leaders and activists spearheaded civil and military policies that trampled Palestinian rights to water, highway use, personal security, and housing, and to medical, educational and vocational opportunity. Rabbis and yeshiva directors whose salaries I paid, turned a blind eye to, or actively encouraged attacks against Palestinians, their livestock and property. Rabbis and yeshiva directors whose salaries I paid incited their students in uniform to refuse government orders to evict settlers, and stood up for their students in outlaw enclaves who branded IDF soldiers as Nazis.
I kept trying. I watched from the sidelines as vast resources were diverted from decaying and depressed towns and villages within Israel, to support ever-expanding settlements, many of them receiving official permission only years after they were built.
In return for my acquiescence, the settlement movement blackened Israel’s democracy and its very name. We gave them Yitzhak Rabin and they gave us Avigdor Lieberman.