Settlers are closing their eyes to the uncomfortable realization that their villages are doomed. After Egypt wrested from Israel a 100 percent solution and Syria secured the Israeli government’s agreement to a 100 percent solution (the Golan Heights and the Kineret waterline beyond the international border), a Palestinian leader cannot frame himself as a loser and traitor by accepting 93 percent of the West Bank. Fearful Israeli governments give way continually, and the Palestinians sense that time is on their side. Their national aspirations transform from a bizarre demand into status quo and become internationally recognized. The 93 percent of the land Israel agreed to give up became a universally accepted bottom-line arrangement; in each round of negotiations, the Palestinians ask for more. The 93 percent is viewed not as a deal, but as the item which need not be negotiated; the talks proceed over the remaining 7 percent. That amount is deemed too insignificant for Jews to insist on, and the world powers push Israel to abandon not 100 percent, but just the 7 percent.

Obscenely, the Israeli government finds it easier to expel the Jews than to stand up to the Palestinians and their leftist supporters. It is self-deceiving to hope that the cost of eviction would be prohibitive: with US support, the Israeli government can allocate the necessary $20 to 50 billion; no one would be overly concerned if the uprooted Jewish settlers became homeless like the Gush Katif evictees. Indeed, crushing the community of patriotic Jews is a welcome outcome for the government.

There will be no Gush Katif-type fighting in the West Bank. Sharon, strong, unprincipled, cruel, and popular could have pulled that off. There are no takers today. Weak Netanyahu or demoralized and soft Tzipi cannot push tens, probably hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes. Hyperactive Barak changes his mind and mood like gloves; he generates daring—and failing—ideas like a machine gun, but cannot follow them through as a decent manager of the government, let alone with Sharon’s bulldozer consistency. Narcissistic Ami Ayalon revels in his “fatherly” treatment of settlers, and can hardly lead a major eviction. Dichter cannot commandeer a necessary degree of popular support. Someone like Beilin or Sharon could do the eviction, but so far they are unlikely to lead the government.

The government will ask the settlers to leave on their own volition. The army will leave, and in most places settlers cannot stay without its protection. By far, the majority of settlers are nice people of moderate patriotism who love the inexpensive village life, as far as possible from the government; they are not ready to fight either the government or the Palestinian forces. As an additional reminder, Israel will criminalize her citizens’ stay in Palestinian territories, just as she now prohibits us from Zone A. Palestinians, too, will criminalize a visa-less stay of foreign (Israeli) nationals. Border posts will prevent the settlers who drive to Israel on business, for medical service, or any other occasion, from returning to their villages. This way, in a few months all the settlements designated for evacuation will be near-empty. Palestinian mobs will then drive out the remaining few settlers and Israel will intervene to save the misguided hotheads.

There are no peaceful means by which the settlers can prevent this simple scenario from ending their lifestyle. Many will move to the Negev and Galilee, and in a decade or two Bedouins and Palestinian Arabs, respectively, will drive them from those areas, as well. Israel is shrinking to the tourist area of Tel Aviv beaches.