One of the chief complaints leveled against the Palestinian Authority in the years of the Oslo process was that it did not, or would not, control the people who lived under its rule. The Palestinian government had no monopoly on violence, in other words; anyone with a gun had power. This was a legitimate complaint. It went to the seriousness of the Palestinian regime, and to its competence.

Well, the government of Israel today is facing a similar crisis. The building of new "illegal" outposts by West Bank settlers -- building accompanied by racist slurs directed at Israel's main benefactor, the President of the United States -- is a direct challenge to the legitimacy of Israel's democratically-elected government. If these outposts are allowed to stand, it will mean that the government of Israel is incapable of enforcing its own laws, or unwilling to do so. Israel and the United States demanded of the Palestinian Authority that it jail those who defied Palestinian law and threatened the Palestinian national cause. Israel should treat these settlers in the same manner. They are criminals who undermining the sovereignty of the Jewish state. If they are not stopped, then we might as well face the harsh truth, that the settlers are in open revolt against the government of the State of Israel, and that their fanaticism may destroy the 2,000-year-old dream of Jewish independence.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.