This is a photo of Moaz Esther, an Israeli outpost that was demolished by Israeli security forces this morning at the behest, media say, of Barack Obama.
This, apparently, is only the first of many. As Haaretz reports (via IMRA):
Ministers, including those from Likud, said Wednesday that Netanyahu probably promised United States President Barack Obama in their meeting that Israel would dismantle outposts soon....
Evacuating illegal outposts in the West Bank is expected to be the Netanyahu government's first gesture toward Obama and the Palestinian Authority.
What next? Self-immolation?
This is part of the "price" Netanyahu paid Obama in exchange for the latter's statements about Iran's nuclearization, the sources said.
Outposts for statements? Netanyahu was suckered.
Sources close to Barak said Wednesday that the first outposts are expected to be evacuated within a few weeks - either with the settlers' agreement or by force.
Gaza all over again -- one of the stunning strategic and moral blunders of all time.
Before going to Washington, Netanyahu and chief of policy planning Ron Dermer drafted the new government's policy principals. The document, which Netanyahu issued for distribution only after meeting Obama, says Israel is ready to evacuate the illegal outposts. As for stopping construction in the settlements the document was more cagey, saying the settlements were not an obstacle to peace and that the evacuation of settlements in Gaza only led to the establishment of a Hamas terror base in the Gaza Strip.
Confusion and weakness. Why evacuate more if recent history -- as in day before yesterday -- shows evacuation leads to massively more violence not less?
During the meeting, held at the minister's bureau in Tel Aviv, Barak went on to say, "We can't compromise on law enforcement. A sovereign country that seeks life must enforce its laws and implement the state's authority over its citizens."
How deeply twisted. In Barak's eyes, sovereignty here is the legal right to destroy his country.
He said the new Israeli government would take action against the outposts, not because it was told to do so by the United States, but because Israel "is a state of law."
How do you say "denial" in Hebrew?
Barak added that the illegal outposts cause extensive damage to Israel in the international arena, and even weaken the settler movement. Therefore, he said, the problem of the unauthorized outposts should be addressed first and foremost.
"Damage in the international arena" -- sounds like Gitmo. Israelis living lives on historic homelands they reclaimed in Arab-jihadist wars of attemped extinguishment does "damage in the international arena" just as Americans attempting to thwarts jihadists from attacking does "damage in the international arena." Hmmm. Sounds like we should both forget about the "international arena" if we want to survive. Big, alas, if.
Meanwhile, notice how rocketing civilians -- as opposed to living on a mountain in a tin can -- causes no damage in the same international arena to the Palestinians.
The meeting, called by the Yesha Council, included several settler demands. The council asked that the construction in the West Bank settlements be unfrozen, that Jewish communities in the West Bank be afforded conditions for a normal lifestyle and that certain security concerns be addressed.
Maoz Esther resident Avraham Sandak said 40 people had been living at the hilltop site northeast of Ramallah and they would start work immediately to replace the demolished buildings.
"We hope to sleep here tonight and we hope, with God's help, to rebuild it, not like before but bigger," he said.