Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sensitive and traumatic

Rabbi Ari Katz, the American-born resident of Gush Katif who's blogging about disengagement for the Jerusalem Post, writes:
I want to add one more thing in regard to what happened yesterday at Shirat Hayam. After hearing what happened, I am very scared and nervous.
One thing that no one wants is a civil war between brothers. I have always claimed that the people in Gush Katif will never take up arms against the soldiers (I can't say as much for some of the people from the outside), and I still believe that. But the other side has to understand that what is happening here is something very sensitive and traumatic, and they have to treat it as such (for example, the army could have come yesterday without all of its combat gear). I hope that we can all calm down in time, before it's too late.
I second his call for the 'other side' to understand that what's going on is 'sensitive and traumatic' for the settlers; indeed, as I've said before, I think they should be treated as heroes.
The settlers, however, also must do their part not to make this horrible process more difficult for themselves and for everyone else than need be. The fact is that by the end of the summer, disengagement will have taken place and they cannot realistically hope to change that. But many of them, and indeed many non-settlers who support their cause seem to have become convinced they actually have it in their power to either stop or badly disrupt the disengagement effort. This isn't in anyone's interests as it will simply promote that civil war R. Katz is talking about, and not, in the end, prevent the inevitable. Much trauma on all sides would be saved if the settlers made their protests symbolic (which can still be extremely powerful) rather than actually trying to physically fight being removed.
As R. Katz implies, it would also help if the settlers restrained the non-resident political activists who are flocking in to Gaza to support them and are in many cases itching for a fight (eg. at the hotel, and many of the people at Shirat Hayam). For them this is not traumatic, not in the same sense that it's traumatic for the people who are actually being evacuated from their homes. For them it is simply a political protest, albeit one they consider very significant. Soldiers should certainly not leave their combat gear at home to evacuate people who do not actually live in Gaza and who are there for the express purpose of stopping the army from doing its job, in order to spare their feelings.

Related: The Jerusalem Post's excellent editorial on Avi Bieber's decision to disobey orders, which reinforces and expands on some of the points I made yesterday; The JPost mentions that talks are taking place to limit protests.

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