Well, it is Passover.

Sharon is recommending a postponement of the pullout by 3 weeks, which is driving the Haaretz writers to go ballistic that he’s been lying about his intentions all along and will never actually pull out. Alternatively, they complain that every delay weakens Abbas. 🙄

Meanwhile, the Gazan Israelis are speaking to the government about options. One idea they’ve been floating is that they’ll move en masse to an area near the ocean called Nitzanim. While Sharon seems to be interested in this option, he is meeting with some fierce resistance.

Now, nobody knows whether the old general is letting the protesters do his job for him while he comes off looking as if he is a supporter and friend to the settlers whom he is forcing to leave, but in effect these groups are killing the possibility of the Nitzanim move.

Plan B for the settlers has apparently come up now and it is to move to Afula, near the beautiful Jezreel Valley. This plan contains a goodie in that they may get an additional $30,000 per family for populating the Galilee. I say it’s worth it since they will do much good there and Zionism in the Galilee is more vibrant and necessary than settling in Gaza (or parts of the West Bank for that matter).

On the other hand, Amir Oren makes a good point that the settlers have already been subsidized for years. They are now going to be compensated for their departure and the estimated cost of the disengagement is 8 billion shekels (around US $1.7-1.8 billion, I think). This, he points out, amounts to 1 million shekels (US $220,000) per man, woman, and child. He comments that the settlers are demanding certain value for their property even though their homes and districts have already received subsidies that mean their cost for the property was lower than their claims.

As Plan B in Afula suggests, that number could go up by another $30,000 per family which would increase costs by another 250,000,000 shekels (US $55-60 million ). Nobody is saying whether all these expenses include the cost of adding detention facilities for protesters.

Now lest anyone think this is over, it seems far from it. Three months before the disengagement, there are growing communities in Gaza as people who oppose the pullout (or maybe think they can get some government compensation?) move their families into new neighborhoods (the image shows a banner that reads “With faith we shall win”). Roadblocks and attempted roadblocks around Israel, put together by teenagers whose parents oppose the pullout and feel comfortable letting the kids do the dirty work of opposition, are continuing apace; a low level of fighting between IDF and Palestinians is ongoing and could boil over any day; many rumors of extensive arms smuggling by Palestinians in light of the “lull” are being discussed openly; as is the arrival into Palestinian arms of Strela shoulder held missiles that can shoot down civilian aircraft.

Also, in light of the upcoming pullout, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has ordered the IDF, partially at the suggestion of staunch Rightist Effi Eitam, to disarm the Gazan Israelis. He certainly isn’t winning points for this but they are hosting him on a visit to Gaza tomorrow. That says something about civility, I guess.

And speaking of civility, in an impressive gesture that shows that Passover is when we are reminded that not only did our forefathers escape slavery thanks to God, but also when they given the Torah and the Commandments, a group of teachers from Gush Etzion (outside the Green Line, but a very unlikely candidate for evacuation of Israelis at any time in the future) have put together a list of commandments to teach the teenager youth among the settlers. The commandments these teachers put together are intended to provide the kids with a favorable understanding of democracy and activism within a democracy. Seriously impressive stuff! Here’s some of it:

– I shall participate in a demonstration under the slogan “No Disengagement” only when its organizers do everything to ensure the demonstration follows democratic protest norms: legal demonstrations approved by the police; non-violent civil disobedience.

– I shall not offend those opposed to my positions.

– I shall work to educate children, teenagers and yeshiva students toward democratic struggle, without physical or verbal violence.

– I shall not use slurs against the prime minister, branches of government or members of the security forces.

– I shall not act in a violent manner against a soldier, police officer or member of the security forces in any place and under any circumstance.

– I shall not interfere in the private lives of security personnel and shall not try to disrupt the lives of opponents or passersby.

– Children under age 12 will not take part in demonstrations or activities that could become confrontational with soldiers or police.

– I shall not urge soldiers, police or other security personnel to refuse orders, or refrain from activities decreed by the IDF and security forces following government and Knesset decisions.

– I shall do everything in my power to ensure that government and Knesset decisions are reached by democratic and proper procedures and faithfully reflect the people’s will.

A lesson in democracy and humility for us all. By the way, these good people are the “settlers” that so many people around the world consider evil people. I guess the world is full of shades other than black and white.

About the author



  • Most have not heard that Member of Parliament from the National Union, Dr. Arieh Eldad, is marching from Sa-nur in the North Shomron area, which is supposed to be judenrhein by the fall, to Gush Katif since last week until next Wednesday. Anyway, he passed close by my office so I decided to join him and his group for a bit near Petach Tikva, and ended up walking to just before the airport about eight kilometres later.

    As for TM’s extreme-left unhumanist opinions (it really is weird that on jewschool, you’re a raight-wing fanatic), I still don’t understand how a reasonable person claiming to support democracy actually thinks about this population relocation as if these Gush Katif settlers are pawns for the Jewish people to move wherever they want.

    Plan A is bad for the environment,
    Plan B is actually to move them to the area near Palmachim and includes taking away someone else’s land (kibbutzniks have rights too),
    Plan C (your plan B) is very far away (Afula is not the Galil) and includes taking away someone else’s land (kibbutzniks have rights too).

    Do you think these kibbutzniks are excited to give up 4000 dunams of land to religious settlers? Not going to happen, and they are also saying ‘over our dead bodies’, but leftist seculars aren’t abound by the same ‘commandments’ of democracy as right-wingers.

    No one knows where all this money is going to come from. It is not in this year’s budget, and I’m sure whoever is in government next year will like the fact being made of delaying the budgetary allocation until the next three years of budget. On the other hand, there is growing suspicion that the settlers (if actually removed) will get didley-squat.

  • Sharon is taking the peaceful approach. There are those who say that there will never be peace. Yet we have seen other Arab countries maintain a normalcy. You have an Abu Dubai television reporter based in Tel Aviv, Egypt, Libya, Morrocco, Jordan. Yet there are those who say it is all a lie a part of their scheme to drive out the Jews.

    I do not know what to believe in, what position to take on this Gaza thing.

    If you want to be pragmatic, you can say it will save lives there, i.e. those people there will be out of harms way, it will save money and Army expenses slightly,

    If you want to take a pessimistic view you can say that the terrorists will then strike into Israel proper once the pullback is over.

    I admit, that I have no clue, no real feeling either way. Both could be right imo.

    I guess the only way they never tried was to be like a brutal dictatorship towards the Arabs that rebelled and such. But most people dismiss this option, so who am I to propose it now?

  • Reality check on an otherwise pretty fair-minded post:

    Let’s talk about MONEY.

    The settlers of Gaza did not extort any funding from the Israeli populace: they received subsidies because Israel’s governments – both Labor and Likud – wanted to encourage Jewish settlement in an otherwise undesireable area.

    Now the settlers are asking to be compensated – not for the value of their homes in Gaza, but for what it will REALLY cost them to put a roof over their heads in the mainstream Israeli real estate market.

    Which is only fair if 30+ years of mortgage and equity investment are being wiped out with the stroke of one man’s pen.

    Anyone care to guess what the influx of 10,000 house buyers will do to Israel’s already stressed housing market? And since housing is far-and-away most Israelis’ major outlay, anyone want to guess the impact of this expulsion on Israel’s economy for the next 3-4 years?

  • Sounds like a buying opportunity. If I only had a few dollars set aside,

  • Benda (do you mind if I call you that? I have a couple of Ben-David friends who’ve adopted that abbreviation),
    there are actually only about 2000 families.

    Nonetheless, who really thinks that Jews can keep hold of the Galil and the Negev at this point without, ahem, massive subsidies and infrastructure spending. Something about creating jobs would help a lot too. I think there’s a law against discrimination so that Arabs moving to the Galil would get the same government aid as well.


  • I’m confused, was this extreme left, even handed, right wing fascist?

    There is no way the settlers will get nothing, Josh. They’ll get something and the question is how much and how quickly.

  • We’ll see.

    Mofaz: “and leaders who fear the public cannot lead”
    LOL, we know how much that Haaretz and Yediot lead the country and how they and Sharon scratch each other’s back at every opportunity.

    It’s incredible how much faith you have in the Israeli government and how little you believe in reality on the ground.

    The back page of the print version of last night’s Globes business paper reports that except for the security services (army and police) that have almost finished plans for their part of the expulsion, the rest of the government is not moving too fast to deal with ‘the future’. Only yesterday did some approval get signed to allow importing some trailers (not the actual purchase order) for those Gazans to live in ‘temporarily’. We know that it takes about two years for a house to be built in Israel. Add to that the time it takes to re-zone land for urban use and do even minimal and proper urban planning, and you have about 8000 people living in trailer parks for the next five years.

    Can you say ‘upcoming humanitarian crisis’? Eh, who cares. Sacrifices for peace. Ahem.


  • I also believe in finding the lowest common denominator and building from there.

    Could we now get on with life after the white dope has been smoked? So many jewliciousier stuff to write about 10 000 French Jews listening to Peres and Mofaz in support of the retreat or in support of Israel (conflicting reports – ynet sucks), or the new struggle to rid the Ashkenazim and Morrocans of the kitniyot/Rice ‘traditional ban’ on Pesach:

    Subject: Interesting Letter From MiAvdut LeHerut-Kitniyot Project

    Dear Jew of Ashkenazi extraction:

    Do you suffer needlessly on Pesach, unable to eat
    foods readily consumed by your religious Sephardic
    neighbors & friends? Do you find it absurd that they
    can eat foods comprised of kitniyot and you can not?

    Does this reduce your ability to be as sameach as you
    could potentially be during the chag? Are you tired of
    being bound to what seems like a diet of matzah and
    potatoes for seven days?

    Do you feel that now that Jews from various places of
    galuth are back together in Eretz Yisrael that it
    makes little sense to remain compartmentalized in
    accordance with our galuth identities?

    Do you feel that there is an inherent absurdity that
    observant Jews living in the same building in Ashdod
    will not eat at each others’ homes because of the
    Ashkenazi-Sephardi divide?

    MiAvdut LeHerut-Kitniyot Project is here for
    Ashkenazim who who wish to
    follow those rabbis (www.torahlight.com) who believe
    that our arrival in Eretz Yisrael must signal a change
    in those modalities of the galuth which impede our
    ability to move forward as a nation. If you are
    interested in more information please e-mail us at
    [email protected].