The Gaza withdrawal is still regarded as a betrayal -- all the more painful because it was spearheaded by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who helped build many of the settlements. Many settlers lost faith in the government, in the Yesha Council for not fighting hard enough and in the Israeli public for not rallying to their defense.
"They didn't fight for us in Gaza," Admoni, the mother of five, said. "No one cares. People are selfish."
Then came Amona: What started as an army push to remove several outpost buildings devolved into a brawl that left nearly 200 people injured. The incident scarred both sides, and even critics of the settlements were shocked by images of Jews being bloodied by Jewish soldiers. Much of the government's reluctance to confront activist settlers stems from a desire to avoid another Amona.
"Nothing underscores the government's weakness and its capitulation to the settlers more than the continued existence of the illegal outposts," wrote Aluf Benn, a venerable diplomatic correspondent for the daily newspaper Haaretz.
One of the unspoken fears fueling that impotence, Benn wrote, is that Israeli forces in the West Bank are increasingly filled with settlers and their supporters. A serious push against the settlements or outposts could trigger a divisive loyalty test that would split both the army and society.