The Jerusalem Post comments wisely on Israel President, Moshe Katsav, as he speaks to the settlers just days before we enter the disengagement.
Here are parts of the speech, translation of which is available here in its entirety. I urge all to read below and then to click on the link and read the rest of it.
Dear Citizens, my brothers, the residents of the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria: We are confronting the most fateful decisions since the Declaration of Independence. In a few short days you will be requested, in accordance with the decisions of the government and the Knesset, to evacuate the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria.
And so we arrive at the difficult moment. The pain of abandonment is too powerful to bear. I feel your pain. Many among the people, regardless of their political identity, surely feel your pain.
We know that you settled throughout Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip because of the dictates of your conscience and in accordance with the decisions of [various] Israeli governments.
You founded flowering communities and raised generations of children and youth who are the grandeur of the nation and the state.
In the name of the State of Israel, I beg your forgiveness for the demand that you leave after decades of building and sacrifice.
Your love of the nation and the Land are reminiscent of the pioneers of Jewish settlement. The spirit in you is the spirit of the founding fathers of Zionism.
We are deeply moved by the fact that you have stood bravely in the face of so many dangers, in the face of thousands of bombs, missiles and shootings. You’ve risked your lives and your families for your ideals and beliefs. You’ve known disaster and grief.
You were not broken. You did not threaten. You continued the momentum of building and fought a momentous battle. You have attained historic achievements.
After a year of difficult struggles and sharp debates, the time has come. You must respect the decision of our national institutions, the government and the Knesset, which even passed examination by the High Court of Justice.
Once the decision was made, it became the law of the land, which obligates us all.
THE KNESSET is the symbol of national sovereignty and expresses the will of the people. The voice of the majority is the same as the will of God. The voice of the Knesset is the same as the voice of the majority.
Despite the enormous tension between you and the government, the government is not indifferent to your opinions. The eyes of Israel and the whole world are looking to this struggle; to the ability of the state to make decisions.
The disengagement plan does not end your Zionist mission. We mustn’t speak in terms of destruction and finality.
You said “love will triumph.” And you were right. Despite the fractured dream, love must win. The pain, the rage, the disappointment and the criticism cannot replace caution and national responsibility. Despair cannot replace faith.
The opposition to the disengagement must not harm national security, democratic values and the most sacred values of Judaism, such as ahdut yisrael, the unity of our people.
Dramatic as the dispute may be, it does not justify a rupture in the nation. Even those who are convinced that this policy is mistaken and dangerous cannot act illegally for its cancellation. The right to protest and to shout, like the desire to replace the current government, does not justify the use of illegitimate means.