The march and demonstration which was organized by the Peace Now movement against the government's decision to expand seven settlements and by confiscating lands, was attended by tens of thousands of supporters of the movement.
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Background: The march and demonstration which was organized by the Peace Now movement against the government's decision to expand seven settlements and by confiscating lands, was attended by tens of thousands of supporters of the movement.
The government's decision followed the violent activities carried out by Gush Emunim during the preceding week, when settlers broke through fences of their own settlements and seized additional lands by force.
The government, in its decision, submitted to violence and thereby gave an opening to the increasingly violent demands of Gush Emunim and groups similar to it.
The government confiscated five million square meters of land, and justified this confiscation with the argument that the land is not really private, but rather, land whose ownership is vague or land which belongs to the Jordanian government. Therefore, in line with this strange thinking, the government claims such lands belong to the State of Israel.
The Peace Now movement, and a large part of the Israeli public deny the validity of this casuistic legalistic argument. Such an argument reveals that the government itself understood the gravity of its decision and attempted to divert discussion from the political level to a doubtful legalistic level.
It is important to stress that a portion of the lands which the government defines as lands whose ownership is vague are private lands. However, the registration of these lands has not been completed.
To the heart of the matter, the decision of the government endangers peace with Egypt, threatens the negotiations on the autonomy and the future of the West Bank, isolates Israel in the world, and condones violence as an effective way to influence government decisions.
As a result of the government's acquiescence to the violent rebellion, Gush Emunim kept large forces of the Israeli Defence Force busy taking down tens of small settlements which were established against the law by Gush Emunim on the West Bank. The army was occupied with this work for a full day. This method of breaking fences and establishing settlements, in full knowledge that such action will cause a confrontation with the IDF, could bring about a collapse of the democratic structures in the State of Israel.
Therefore, the demonstration today is not only a protest against the government decision to enlarge seven settlements but a call for the moral, social, and economic strengthening of the State of Israel, and for the preservation of israel's being as a state of law and democracy.
The government of Israel has lost all control over events during the recent months. Along with the severe economic decline, there is an apprehension that the government decision and its submission to violence, will lead to deterioration in the social, moral, and political areas of life such that Israel has never known.