The situation is sad all around, not to mention troubling. Before you read on, let me assure you that it will turn out okay. Yihyeh b’seder.
Haaretz’s editorial today is about the laxity with which the IDF is protecting some Palestinians from motivated settlers who wish to disrupt the disengagement by fomenting violence and (they seem to hope) a flare up. Haaretz is calling these attacks pogroms. Read it and decide whether you agree. Here’s a sample, but there’s more:
Last week, Palestinian laborers were attacked by settlers in what the Israel Defense Forces described as an “attempted lynching.” At various locations throughout the West Bank, Jewish hooligans have used guns, iron bars and hammers in an attempt to ignite the territories.
In one case, students of the Yeshuat Mordechai Yeshiva attacked five laborers who had come to work in the settlement of Nahliel with sticks and stones. In a second case, Nawaf Hanani of Nablus was beaten all over his body by armed settlers who forced him to get out of his truck. In a third case, Hebron settlers invaded an Arab house, attacked the residents and destroyed part of the ceiling with hammers. In all of these places, soldiers and policemen were in the vicinity. Granted, some of the assailants were arrested the same day, but they were later allowed to go home.
On the other hand, in a significant show of good faith, settlers in Gush Katif in Gaza have handed over a list of names to the IDF of people who have recently moved into the area and have apparently refused to join in planning for demonstrations against the pullout. The impression of the established settlers is that these men are extremists who intend to use violence to oppose the pullout.
At first, Gush Katif residents urged the newcomers to join in the controlled protests they are planning for the disengagement, which involve bringing the maximum number of sympathizers to Gush Katif to engage in nonviolent passive resistance. But when the newcomers refused, residents secretly approached the Israel Defense Forces and handed over the names of some of the extremists. The residents explained that this was done in part in the hopes of keeping the door open for more moderate supporters to come to Gush Katif.
Some of the newcomers belong to a new organization called Revava, which was founded by former members and supporters of the outlawed Kach and Kahane Chai groups. A recent article by David Ha’ivri, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Tapuah and a former Kahane Chai member who is one of Revava’s leaders, discussed the possibility of “civil war” during the evacuation, citing examples from Jewish history such as the civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other 11 tribes, the wars between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and the battles between the Maccabees and the Jewish Hellenists.
The Sunday NY Times carried what can only be described as a heartbreaking article about the confusion and pain the Gazan Israelis are experiencing as it dawns on them that they will likely have to leave their homes and move elsewhere soon.
For Kobi Hadad, the prospect is a nightmare that stays with him all his waking hours, which are many more than before. Like other settlers here, he feels frozen, he says, paralyzed by a future that he detests and cannot believe will come, but which he does not know how to avert.
“I live day to day,” he said. “Every day has its problems, including not sleeping. I walk around a lot at night, and I smoke a lot – that’s on the rise,” he said, as he snuffed out another cigarette.
“If I think rationally,” he said, “I know I have to prepare myself to go, because it might happen. But the irrational side is causing me to freeze in my place and take no action. Something could happen, some outside event – who knows? My wife and I try to talk about it; she looks at me and she doesn’t have to ask.”
Mr. Hadad, 45, came to Gaza in 1986, after serving in the army, living for a few years in Jerusalem and missing the earth. “We were brought up that you have to settle the land,” he said. “I decided I wanted to live in a moshav,” a cooperative farm, “and I wanted to start something.” With 10 families, at first in mobile homes, the Hadads began an agricultural settlement in southern Gaza, Rafiah Yam, which now has 26 families. They practice high-tech farming, growing organic vegetables – peppers, lettuces and spices – in the sand dunes, under greenhouses of fabric. Nearly all of the produce is sold to Europe. Gaza is responsible for 15 percent of Israel’s agricultural exports.
“It was difficult to learn how to grow in the sand, but we succeeded,” he said proudly, then grew melancholy again. “Where shall we go? Where will we find our place?” Mr. Hadad says he cannot even begin to answer. Yet in his heart of hearts, where he does not want to reach, he knows that he and his family will have to go.
Mr. Hadad continues and laments the fact that Sharon had turned away from them. That instead of approaching in a friendly and loving manner, merely turned against them. He makes the valid point (and I am probably guilty of this as well):
“people now look at us like we’re lawbreakers, when everything we did here was legal, and as obstacles to peace, instead of praising us for what we’ve built and defended here as pioneers of modern farming.”
Read the article, it really puts some things into a clear perspective.
On another front, Haaretz also points out that those people who are claiming the Palestinians view the disengagement as a military victory against the Israelis, are apparently right. The article posits that this means more war and violence in the future.
An explanation can be found in an answer to a question presented in a public opinion poll conducted jointly by Hebrew University’s Truman Institute and a Palestinian research institute. Conducted under the watchful eyes of Dr. Yaakov Shamir and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, the study’s results can be seen to be reliable. The question was: How do you view Sharon’s plans to evacuate the Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip? Some 75 percent of the Palestinians answered that the move was testimony to a victory of the Palestinian armed struggle, with just 23 percent having a different view of the matter.
The interesting thing was that among Israeli respondents, some 44 percent also saw it as a Palestinian victory (as opposed to some 50 percent who believed otherwise).
David Horovitz, editor of Jerusalem Post, provides us with a glance at the encroaching construction between two Palestinian villages in Judea that are subtly creeping upon each other. The catch is that by doing so, they are beginning to cut off Ma’aleh Edumim from Jerusalem. Ehud Barak is publicly beseeching Sharon to proceed with a construction plan devised by Rabin over a decade ago but there is definitely cause for concern because Sharon is either not moving or doing it very slowly. The mayor of Ma’aleh Edumim is a bit more optimistic, noting that he’s on the “right” side of the security barrier.
And finally, Amos Atza-El at J Post writes a fine column about Israel and planning. Are you laughing? 😆
Read his fine article.