Today Cursor posted links to this L.A. Times story and this survey from Israel's Peace Now, both of which make the point that most Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories would leave peacefully if required to do so, asking only adequate financial compensation (many of them, apparently, because they're in the territories not for the politics, but for the inexpensive housing). That's reassuring -- up to a point. What concerns me is that the Peace Now survey finds this:
Only 6% of settlers said that they would struggle against such a decision even with illegal means including endangering themselves or their families;
Of this 6%, only one-third (or 2% of the total) may be identified as "extremist" according to all the parameters of the study in that they are willing to use force of arms against withdrawal
What worries me is that 6% -- or even 2% -- of the Jewish population is still an awful lot of people. The Jewish population in the territories is approximately 225,000 -- 2% of that number is about 4,500 people. If half of those are children and half of the remainder are just talking tough, that still leaves about a thousand settlers willing to go to extreme lengths to stay in the territories. That's enough people to make some serious trouble. These really could be the proverbial few bad apples who spoil things for everyone else.
I'm not trying to single out one side as the problem here -- I'm just trying to make the point that seemingly small slivers of the overall population on both sides can do real harm.
I have the feeling that Bush and his supporters don't really get this -- they seem to think that this problem can be solved if a real man takes it on, somebody who's demonstrated that he can deal out ass-kickings; they also seem to think that Clinton failed not because this is an extraodinarily difficult problem but because he was a peacenik degenerate. Alas, I suspect they'll learn otherwise.