Monday, August 15, 2005

The first of two "days of grace" of the implementation of Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip is almost over. PM Sharon just finished addressing the nation, not very convincingly. Some things became clear today, most of them were already known:
  1. Things won't be easy for anybody directly involved in the evacuation; we saw soldiers wiping their eyes ( and the really hard part has not started yet ), officers embracing settlers, a Golani officer in the reserves ( not a settler himself, but active in the Orange Cell, a group of students opposed to disengagement ) who cried in front of the commander of the Golani Brigade, under whom he used to serve
  2. The rule of law is a joke in this country, especially when politicians and rabbis are concerned. This is apparently even more true when an MK who happens to be a rabbi is involved: on television I saw and heard MK Benny Elon openly call ( using a megaphone ) for soldiers and policemen to refuse to carry out orders
  3. Most of the provocations, confrontations and escalations seem to be initiated by the mistanenim ( infiltrators ) and shaba"him ( shohim bilti hukiim, those whose presence in what is now a closed military zone is illegal ), people - often youngsters - who do not live in the Gaza Strip or in the Northern part of Samaria and who are driven by ( religious ) fervor and fanaticism, boredom, a lack of respect for authorities in general and for the IDF and the State in particular, etc. I heard at least one settler ( from Morag ) complain today about outsiders who tried to prevent residents from getting organized towards the evacuation. Also in Morag, a Channel 1 reporter told us that a young mother ( not a resident herself ) had said to one of the soldiers who came to hand out the evacuation orders that when he returns she will use a weapon not against him but against herself.
  4. Some of the settlers continue to pretend that everything is normal, they claim to believe that the evacuation will not take place; for them, and I suppose especially for their children, the reality that will fall upon them in about 30 hours could be unbearable.
  5. This is not an exercise, I repeat, this is not an exercise. As cynical as I was until a few months ago, this is the real thing, Israel - with Ariel Sharon as prime minister - is going to evacuate an important part of the occupied territories. As I wrote before, it might be for the wrong reasons and not exactly in the right way, but in the end part of the burden of the occupation will be lifted from our shoulders.
  6. Nobody has an idea what will happen after the implementation of the pullout plan. Sharon does not tell us anything substantial about his motives and about his plans for the future. This partly explains the anger and frustration of the settlers, and makes the work of our security services unnecessarily more difficult.
  7. Not for everybody the disengagement is the main item of interest, or There is a life after/besides disengagement: tonight one of the semifinals of the Israeli version of A Star is Born ( or Israeli Idols, or whatever you might call that senseless and shallow talent scouting show ) is being held, and I have a gut feeling that that program's ratings will rival most national news broadcasts today. There is also some soccer game, Israel-Ukraine, on the television.

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