“Do you think it is psychosomatic?” I asked the doctor. “I have a persistent cough. Yes, I had had a high fever, but now it’s this cough.”

“Your lungs are clear” the doctor said. “Take it easy. Drink hot lemonade with lots of honey.”

My cough gets worse when I speak and speaking is what I do. I speak to reporters, and television and radio crews from around the world. The message of Gush Katif must get through. I also speak to people who just call and need emotional support.

The government of Israel has signed the official expulsion orders and we are fighting for our lives.

Each of us volunteers in the battle for Gush Katif and I write and speak with passion about my home, and when I speak I cough and choke. I cry, silently, at night. I try not to let my husband hear. He suffers, too.

I’m not alone. The people are in pain. One woman said “I have nightmares of a bulldozer coming towards me and I cry out ‘STOP’ but it doesn’t stop. It smashes into my home. I hear my children scream and I wake up shaking.”

“I have a constant headache”, a colleague at school told me. “I know what it is from.”

“Why don’t you pack and leave?” I ask.

“I can’t. I have to be here with the people. But I suffer. If you believe in Eretz Yisrael and all the values I grew up with and teach my own pupils, then I can’t just walk away. I even signed my daughter up for first grade at the Atzmona school for next year.”

“Aren’t you being impractical?”

“I guess so. I know you’re right. I’m the most practical person you ever met. This time I can’t be practical. I have to believe that we will be here next year, and the year after that.”

A friend from a community in Samaria called. “We’re not slated for this expulsion, but I know we’re next on the list. If they succeed in destroying you, there is no hope for us. I have severe stomach pains. I don’t sleep. I find myself crying at all times of the day. I pray a lot. Surely the Almighty will have compassion on us.”

Men don’t cry as easily, but the pain in their heart is no less great. “I’m over 50. I put my whole life into making my greenhouse farm successful. With the Lord’s help we made these vegetables grow. Religious people around the world depend on us to provide insect-free kosher vegetables. My sons live here with their families. Three generations to be thrown out. They want to give this land to the Arabs. It will return to sand. Excuse me, I’ve got to get back to work. My heart is breaking. My pain is for me and Eretz Yisrael.”

The pain is there, for me, for my people in Gush Katif, for the people of Israel, and for people all over the world. How often do journalists and radio and tv reporters say “Why is Sharon doing this to you?” The world media is here in Gush Katif listening to us and reporting this terrible shameful story of expulsion to listeners around the world. And despite my personal pain I speak to the world and tell our story over and over again.

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