Israel: more disengagement reactions

Here are a few additions to Haitham's excellent round-up of reactions to the disengagement:

Allison talks about how many Israelis are focusing their attention elsewhere: “My point: this is a huge, historic big deal, this disengagement. But in order to really feel that it's happening, you have to be paying attention. And a lot of people are deciding not to pay attention. Which, considering how painful it is to watch, may not be such a bad decision.”

In contrast, though, Imshin asserts that “No Israeli has the right to turn his head away, to turn off the television, to pretend it isn’t happening. We must see it all. See without judgment.”

Lisa of On the Face tells a vivid story about going into Bethlehem for an art exhibition, and the politics of choosing what language to speak to Palestinian cab drivers:

“On the way up, he asked us if we were Israelis. Upon hearing our confirmation he started to speak broken Hebrew, assuring us that it had been fluent once, before the checkpoints and the separation barrier were erected and Israelis could no longer visit the West Bank. I haven't spoken Hebrew for five years, he said, So I'm out of practice. He added that he had heard a few people speaking Hebrew very softly in the Bethlehem market. They're with your group, right? he said. Yes, I thought so. But they were afraid to be identified as Israelis, he said, laughing. Why are you all so afraid of us?”

Flickr has a ton of photos tagged with “disengagement,” among them this one of people praying beside their car, this one of the official roadblock closing the road into Gaza, and this one of a scene from a bus of settlers en route to a protest.

Orthodox Anarchist writes on being simultaneously pro- and anti-disengagement:

“what's going on right now is painful. i feel for the families yet find it difficult to fathom their shock and suprise as it's been shown in the news. this has been a year in the coming; they're acting like they didn't believe the day would come. their disbelief is staggering. israel's been terrorizing arabs, knocking down their houses, razing their villages, suppressing their rights, brutalizing and dehumanizing them for decades. they didn't think the government would do the same to them when they they no longer served the government's interests?”

Sha! writes about cognitive dissonance: “one of the most common sights in Neve Dekalim today is a house with a sign on the front door reading ‘We won't Move From this Place’ and a whole lot of packed boxes inside.”

Out of Step Jew writes “Israel is life – it is not a toy or a game that you play with when you feel like it. It is not a vacation spot, not a place to find yourself, not a place to work out your life's problems and not a place to build your own utopia. Living in Israel is living reality. And reality demands compromise and ugliness.”

Bert (a.k.a. Yonathan) of Dutchblog Israel posts about settlers’ acts of violence and why these acts actually make the soldiers’ jobs easier, arguing that it is “less difficult for soldiers and policemen and -women to deal with violent than with truly non-violent resistance.”

Karen (of Karen Alkalay-Gut's Tel Aviv Journal) writes: “There is no way to see these days as joyous. Even though i have never ever believed in the justification of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, from the time of my own visits to Gaza in the early seventies, I could not help but feel today as a day of amputation.”

Ben (of Ben Chorin) asks “Where is the line between legitimate protest and illegitimate havoc-wreaking? Not a simple question. If you believe, as I do, that the withdrawal from Azza will bring only harm and that, moreover, the process by which it has been carried out is not only flawed but corrupt (the individuals involved most directly in the decision-making process all have direct or indirect financial interests in the withdrawal), you might be inclined to push the boundary pretty far out there.”

On Jewschool, a post about Amnesty International criticizing Israel for holding anti-disengagement activists without officially charging them with anything (and in the comments to that post, a debate about whether or not Amnesty is biased for or against Israel.)

And on a lighter note, Brian of This Normal Life tells a sweet story about eyeglasses, optometrists, and romance in A Different Disengagement.

1 comment

  • I am not without compassion but my understanding of the Israeli Jew is that they are a hardened people – in a good way – they’ve learned to handle the rigors of that region and to survive, even prosper, where one would otherwise think it impossible. I understand that those who have lived there for 30 years are suffering, and yet I also understand that in order for there to be peace, one side had to give way first. And it was only fitting that the stronger side make the first move. How can anyone expect the weakest side to ever make concessions? The palestinian fanatics are not even rational about any of this so you cannot expect movement from them, and their more rational counterparts have their hands tied as the only option they have is civil war.

    Now this move out of Gaza gives Israel (and the rest of the world) all the ammunition it needs to tow as hard of a line as it wants if the Palestinians do not rise to the occasion and start to make their territory a safer place for everyone – not just palestinians.

    Someone once said that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. That’s unfortunate, but it seems true. Ironically, it seems to me that the Palestinians are a defeated people who were never dealt the final blow and as such what they go on fighting for is for a sense of dignity, but the more they fight for it with terror, the less likely it becomes so it is a self-defeating prophecy.

    The way to reclaim dignity is for them to assimilate into the modern world and take all the help they can get and put it into educating their young to grow up bright contributors to a global society rather than murderous bombers.

    Thank you for this article and the opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings.


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