I have decided to send this out to you so that you can read a first hand detailed account of what the world news is mostly blacking out.
First, I want you to understand the basic facts:
1. Sharon decided for no reason that removing his citizens from their homes and giving the Land away to long term enemies who are terrorists, was a good idea.
2. Polls reflect that the majority of his citizens do not want this.
3. Soldiers, including an entire unit toda, are refusing orders to remove their fellow citizens from their homes.
4. Sharon announced a set of rules under which his dictates would happen.
5. He broke every single one of his own rules.
6. In any other context, happening to anyone other than Israelis, the United Nations would intervene, other governments would call it an atrocity, and perhaps even war crime indictments would be made.
—> Next, I want you to picture the “extremists” involved in the resistance to the Expulsion plans. Get ready. Picture normal middle class frequently articulate, empowered, American, educated folks who moved here to build a life. Dress them well, give them manners, and you have just pictured the vast majority of the protesters.
—> Now finally I want you to read this email which was sent by a licensed clinical psychologist who works for my agency. He is a brilliant and kind man. He rode to Gush Katif last night, on a momen’ts notice, in a car driven by my son, with my husband and another young woman also as passengers. Their aim was to join another van full of similar people from our town, to make sure with their own bodies that Sharon would not be a dictator and violator of the HUMAN RIGHTS of people in their own homes.
Read this description of what went on in Gush Katif, at the “hotel” which is really a building housing lots of people, as the military and the police entered this private property unannounced and in direct conflict with all stated policies…
There are not two sides to this issus. Let the politicians find other ways of solving terrorism. Throwing good and productive people out of their homes in order to give them to terrorists, is not a way to solve terrorism. It is a way to guarantee it.
Please pray for Divine wisdom to enter our lives now. Please, please trudge through every word of Yaacov’s email.
Well thanx to this list, to Aryeh, and our driver Shimmy, we managed to get down to Maoz Yam Hotel yesterday before they closed the Gush. We were given sleeping bags and stayed the night in the hotel. In the a.m. upon hearing the Gush had been closed, some of us decided to stay on since it would be hard for others to get in to take our place. Some observations, thoughts, suggestions:
1) My encounter with the police was chilling. They were not violent to me, personally, I did not resist and was carried away briskly but without violence. The same cannot be said for others. However, the police–two in particular–refused to identify themselves; they refused to tell me whether I was meukav (detained) or atzur (arrested) ; they refused to say where they were taking me. All of this is disturbing enough (because essentially it is like you have been kidnapped. Police MUST identify themselves, badge # etc… ). The looks on some of their faces was what really disturbed me. Blank looks. I believe these were the “Yasam” ones.
2) The police I saw were all armed. They entered the hotel in SWAT team style, with machine guns in prepared posture, helmeted, with ladders, crowbars and sledge hammers. Those who carried me away were carrying pistols. I thought the police had agreed that those doing the gerush would not be armed? What if in the pressured situation, amidst the screams and crying, some unbalanced individual [or government plant, a la Avishai Raviv, for that matter]–were to grab one of their guns and start shooting? The guns were within easy reach. Why did they come in with guns?
3) Why were religious teenage young women who were not resisting, who had tied their own hands and were sitting passively (although crying), handled roughly and carried away by male policemen? There has always been a policy to use female police for that purpose. There was certainly no shortage of manpower, and I did see some female police. Was this a policy decision?
4) For all the mantra-like repetition of “extremists” and “extremist hotel” in the media (it does seem that they all get told what words to use), even the “hilltop youth” and Cahanistim responded immediately to the requests of the leadership at the hotel, and came down from the rooftops where they had been barricading themselves with barbed wire, tires, food etc. They agreed to adopt nonviolent means. Otherwise it would have taken many hours or days to remove them. This moderation is the only reason that there were not serious injuries or even deaths at the hotel, and why it was so easy and fast for the police to remove everyone. The police SWAT invasion of a private hotel, breaking the law by not identifying themselves etc, was “extreme.” The people at the hotel were models of restraint and moderation in my opinion.
All of the problems with police conduct I have mentioned, when dealing with people who were showing tremendous restraint while being ripped, mothers and babies, from their homes (remember: families have been living in the hotel for years), has the effect of radicalizing the opposition, and increasing exponentially the risk of severe violence. A father sees his wife and infant child being roughly removed from their home by a blankly-staring policeman in a ridiculous space-man SWAT outfit, while his religious teenaged daughter is being manhandled by other male police—they are pushing this person to the limit. I’m frankly surprised that no one has seriously attacked the police, and judging from the way the police came in, I think they are also surprised.
I will never forget the little girl happily riding her bike around the hotel courtyard–perhaps the only home she has ever known–shortly before the Israeli SWAT teams stormed in–literally–to drag her and her parents onto buses, to drop them many miles away on a secluded highway, some barefoot, and *without water* in the Negev sun. I saw this with my two eyes, which are teary as I write this.
Because someone decided Jews can’t live there anymore. We will never forget this.