It doesn’t boast to be the home of some 9,000 people, and half of them are bowing their heads to the disengagement authorities, taking their checks and moving on. The civilian outcry is much less, proportional to the media coverage it receives as compared to Gush Katif.
Even so, the northern Shomron area slated for evacuation this coming August still has some serious concerns attached to it not as brought by the public outcry, but from the small yet formidable security apparatus both there, and in the surrounding areas.
Two of the four slated for evacuation, Kanim and Gadim, have stopped watering their gardens and have begun to move out, but Chomesh and Tzanur have decided to fight to the end-passively of course, but still a thorn in the eye of the Sharon administration.
They are only a few hundred people, not able to galvanize nearly as much support as the Gush Katif wing. But as small as they are population-wise, Chomesh and Tzanur boast from on high-literally, and Chomesh adds to that a crystal clear view of the Mediterranean coast. Both settlements are situated over two thousand feet above sea level, laying claim to one of the most high-lying areas in all of Israel.
From Chomesh specifically, one can sport an enviable view of the coastal cities of Netanya, Hadera, and of course, Tel Aviv.
Even on a misty day, three columns can be made out on the Chomesh horizon.
The Hadera power plant juts out conspicuously, Chomesh looking on as one third of Israel’s electricity is generated right before their eyes. Incidentally, the same is true for the northern Gaza settlement of Elei Sinai, with the Ashkelon power plant standing in plain view right outside the window of the beachfront houses there, churning out another third.
Determined as the Shomron settlers are, and threatening to gather 15,000 people by their side during the disengagement, their stubbornness is somewhat of a background noise to what the heads of security all throughout settlements in the Shomron are fearing.
At that height, mortars and kassams have a long way to go before they hit ground level, which is what Marc, the Shiloh security head warning about. “Maybe I’ll bomb your capital,” he said, mimicking what he saw as the terrorist thought process. “I have children here and I’ll be damned if they get shot at. I will not have my children ask me if I’ll die today.” His job as dangerous as it is, his children, he said, ask him that question frequently.
Articulate the strategic threat of handing over such a high-lying area to the PA they did, but their fears were still overshadowed by what may be called a kind of yearning for the past. As security heads, both Marc from Shiloh and security head of Alfei Menashe Aryeh Zisman, also in the Shomron, had and have close relationships with their surrounding villages, both Israeli and Arab. Indeed, as heads of security, their jobs require such interaction.
Zisman spoke of the days when he would venture into the neighboring Palestinian city of Kalkilya to do business, or even send in an ambulance to help those in need. Now, “every night we can hear the shooting in Kalkilya,” as gangs take over the streets and Alfei Menashe lay in wait. “Now they even take the traffic poles to make the kassams,” he said.
Marc also spoke of his relationships in the past, and how they are all but gone now. Those that were my friends are still my friends,” he said, hopefully. “I try to help them, clandestinely.” But since the Intifadah began in 2000, he has been singing a different tune. “Since the Intifadah, this place has been like Bosnia,” he said.
Though Shiloh itself is not included under the Disengagement Plan, He nevertheless warned that with the handover of the elevated areas of the northern Shomron, a third Intifadah was on its way. He went even further to say that, as the terrorists will perceive it as a victory, terrorism will spread faster worldwide. “Your governments better get ready,” he remarked.
And for both Zisman and Marc, men with former close relations with their Arab neighbors, a third Intifadah will have a further personal effect. It may be that hope of regaining what they had may be lost.