Haggai SegalThe writer is a well known Israeli journalist, broadcaster, satirist, editor and author. His book "Dear Brothers: The West Bank Underground" has been translated into English and his most recent book is "Land for Dreams", published in 2013. He has a popular column in the Makor Rishon weekend edition.
(Appeared in Hebrew in Makor Rishon newspaper, translated by A7 editor with the author's permission)
The sound of the ram’s horn blown each day after morning prayers during the Jewish month of Elul has been muffled by imaginary sirens warning about what will occur on September 20th. At present it seems that the warnings are a false alarm, although the IDF must, of course, be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Judging by the plethora of media reports, these preparations are progressing steadily. The Central Command has equipped itself with all kinds of clever methods for dispersing demonstrators. It is prepared to push back the Palestinians marching towards the “settlements”, controlling those non-violent marches that the Israeli left has been talking about for months while getting endless media opportunities to do so.
If the protests are actually going to be be non-violent, a la Mahatma Gandhi, then what’s the problem? The Palestinian marchers will approach the gates of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria with PLO flags waving, singing Bladi Bladi (the PLO anthem, My Country, My Country) and will then disperse quietly.
Still, it might be a good idea to prepare a warm welcome committee of local residents. Almost every community has either a boys’ yeshiva or an ulpana for girls and the students can be posted at the gates waving blue and white flags, singing the well known Israeli songs “ I have no other country” or “Am Yisrael Chai, The Jewish People Lives” at the top of their lungs.
The International media will love it. They won’t understand the words, but the accompanying sounds will be most persuasive.
Oh - and this coming Wednesday, the Knesset will be having a preparatory meeting. MK Ben-Ari of the National Union party is planning the event, and has invited people from the right of the political spectrum to come and suggest various ways of meeting the marchers, hoping to organize a Jewish welcome.
There is no reason for the Council of Judea and Samaria not to join this initiative wholeheartedly. 320,000 Jews can organize marches that will be no less impressive and well-behaved than the 'autumn marches' of Abu Mazen and Peace Now.
However, if the Palestinians decide not to behave properly, and their non-violent marches remain true to the traditional rock-throwing and aiming of other flying objects, it is to be expected that the IDF will disperse them in a traditional manner as well. It is hard to believe that the security establishment will allow rioting Palestinians to penetrate Jewish communities unopposed. The IDF will have no choice but to open fire, first at lower extremities, and if necessary, higher up.
After everything that went on in Damascus and Tripoli this summer, the world would have to be especially hypocritical to condemn us.
But have no fear, they’ll manage it.