Even the Victors Ought to Mourn- Withdrawing from Gaza

I think that this is a very powerful piece. Here are some very powerful excerpts.

“Even those of us who (however unhappily) favor the disengagement can, and must, understand this sense of betrayal. Because these Israeli citizens were encouraged by Labor no less than by Likkud to build homes in Gush Katif, and they did so with exemplary dedication. Because, our protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, we are withdrawing under fire. Because Ariel Sharon effectively promised these people that this would not happen, and they supported him with that assurance in mind. Because homes will be destroyed, communities dismantled, playgrounds abandoned, synagogues emptied, batei midrash razed. Because those who left Yamit (in the Sinai, when it was returned to Egypt, and was then destroyed by Israeli bulldozers) could at least console themselves with the knowledge that it was land for peace, while this week, we could not point to anything that we were getting in return for our evacuation.

Because there are cemeteries in the Gaza settlements, where these citizens have buried their parents and their children. And what should happen to those graves? Shall we disinter the children killed and buried there, and force those people to relive once again the torment of those funerals? Or shall we leave the graves there, even as the Palestinians move in, pretending that we don’t recall the desecrations of Joseph’s Tomb in 2000, or of the Mount of Olives before the Six Day War?

Sadly, we hear little validation of the settlers’ angst from those who favor the withdrawal. Where is the grieving on the “left” for a human tragedy of enormous proportions? Have we become so embittered that we feel nothing for those whom we must dislodge? Is that what statehood has wrought?”

Yotz’im me-azah, matchilim le-daber,” proclaimed the other side. “Leave Gaza, and Start Speaking,” as if there were anyone with whom to speak. What was intended to be a declaration of hope, struck me as naive, as Pollyannaish, as a reflection of precisely what is wrong with those with whom I agree that we need to leave, but who see our part of the world with an optimism I do not share. The arms-smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza will continue, and Israeli papers warned this week that Palestinians may have smuggled in weapons capable of bringing down a plane. (The Ben Gurion airport isn’t that far from Gaza.) The firing of Kassam rockets will also continue, that we know. The IDF will be in Gaza long into the future. The residents will leave, but our forces will not be able to. Ironically, “yotz’im me-azah, matchilim le-daber” confirms the sense of futility which has Kfar Darom in its grip. We are leaving out of desperation, because too many of us are dying, not because we have a peace partner.”


“This week was cause for mourning. Because of what we did. What we had to do, and will have to do. And because, as the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder reminds us, though we may have taken the first steps to save our bodies, we have a long way to go if we are to repair our souls.”

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1 Comment

  1. Stacey October 30, 2004 at 3:51 am

    What a difficult situation. This article gives much food for thought.

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