View Full Version : Soldiers evict Gaza settlers

08-17-2005, 01:59 PM
· Anger and grief as Jews depart
· Sharon calls evacuation 'heartbreaking'
· Israeli gunman kills three Palestinians

Thousands of Israeli troops evicted Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip today amid anger, grief and isolated acts of violence.The actual removals - which have seen troops dragging some settlers out kicking and screaming - have taken place amid high emotion but little physical confrontation.

But three people were killed this afternoon when an Israeli man opened fire on Palestinians he was driving to their jobs in a West Bank settlement unaffected by the pullout.

Unconfirmed reports said the man was protesting at the withdrawal from all 21 settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank after 38 years of occupation.

The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, said the shooting was an act of "Jewish terror" aimed "against innocent Palestinians, out of twisted thinking, aimed at stopping the disengagement."

Palestinians fired a motar shell towards the Morag settlement in Gaza in apparent retaliation and Israel Radio later reported an exchange of gunfire between Israeli troops and militants nearby.

The forcible removals operation began shortly after 9am local time (0700 BST) when troops entered four of Israel's 21 Gaza settlements. It followed the issuing of 48-hour evacuation notices by the army on Monday and the passing of a deadline - at midnight last night - for settlers to leave of their own accord.

Protesters as young as 12 at Neve Dekalim, the largest settlement, struggled as troops dragged them onto removal buses. "I want to die," one youth screamed as he was hauled away.

There were skirmishes with security forces but no serious fighting as the settlements were evacuated. One female soldier suffered a slight injury after being stabbed with a medical needle at the Morag settlement in Gaza.

Shortly after the incident, Mr Sharon appealed to protesters not to attack security forces.

"Don't attack the men and women in uniform," he said. "Don't accuse them. Don't make it harder for them, don't harm them. Attack me. I am responsible for this."

He said the evacuation was "heartbreaking", telling a news conference: "It is impossible to watch this, and that includes myself, without tears in the eyes."

Opponents of the withdrawal believe it is a surrender to Palestinian militant groups.

In the southern Israeli town of Netivot, not far from Gaza, a 54-year-old Israeli woman set herself on fire and was reportedly left with life-threatening 60% burns.

There were also reports that a group of up to 20 protesters believed to be members of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad sect had barricaded themselves into the basement of the synagogue in Neve Dekalim and were threatening to commit mass suicide by setting themselves on fire.

The synagogue is a centre of protest against the withdrawal and an estimated 2,000 protesters have been praying for a miracle to stop the evacuation.

Between 500 and 600 families were left in the Gaza Strip - around one third of the total settler population of 8,500 - according to the Israeli military. Thousands of young non-resident opponents to the withdrawal also remain.

Many settlers were resigned to leaving, and were cooperating with soldiers, but a hard core - for whom "Jews don't evict Jews" has become a slogan - remain determined to force confrontations.

Settlers were pulled from homes, synagogues and even a nursery. As the day wore on, it appeared more settlers were cooperating with the troops.

During the early stages of removals at Neve Dekalim, one army officer, who gave his name as Yitzhak, broke into tears and embraced a settler.

"These are very special people ... taking people out of their homes is not easy," he said. "But we have a mission, and we will carry it out. And I think these people understand that."

Some residents remonstrated with the hardliners and repeatedly doused fires started in rubbish bins by protesters.

In Morag, protesters also gathered in the synagogue, but troops entered the building and removed them. Some protesters continued praying in front of the Torah scroll as soldiers removed people around them.

Bedolah and Ganei Tal - where the army believes most settlers will leave voluntarily - were among the areas entered early. Later, troops went into the settlements at Tel Katifa and Kerem Atzmona.

At Kerem Atzmona, dozens of hardline settlers, most of whom live in trailers, shouted abuse at the arriving soldiers, calling them "Nazis".

Some wore T-shirts with Nazi-era imagery, and swastikas were daubed on doors.

Security officials said today that they hoped to clear the communities in only a few days - far more quickly than the official army deadline of September 4.

It is the first time Israel has uprooted Jewish communities built on land occupied in 1967 and widely recognised as likely to be part of a future Palestinian state.

The withdrawal from Gaza and the transfer of the territory to Palestinian control is part of Mr Sharon's "disengagement" plan, first touted around 18 months ago.

Source: The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1550682,00.html)

08-17-2005, 02:33 PM
Some comments on this:

I fully support the withdrawal - limited though it is (8,500 our of 400,000 illegal settlers), and probably designed to reinforce the Israeli state's grip on the West Bank and East Jerusalem (where more settlements are being built). nd to teh best of my knowledge, the Palestinian Authority will not control the Gaza border with Egypt or the coastline either.

But, its a start and will hopefully give, well, hope, to the Palestinian people.

But, the media coverage has been terrible. Notice that today, as reported below (the Guardian is a decent paper) three Palestinians were shot dead in the West Bank today, by what even Sharon had to admit was a "Jewish Terrorist". Had three illegal settlers been murdered by a Palestinain terrorist, that would be headline news the world over - "Palestinain terror disrupts disengagement" or something similar. And had it happened in Gaza, it would have seen a full scale invasion of Gaza by the IDF - that is their contingency plan for such an action in the next few weeks.

"At Kerem Atzmona, dozens of hardline settlers, most of whom live in trailers, shouted abuse at the arriving soldiers, calling them "Nazis". Some wore T-shirts with Nazi-era imagery, and swastikas were daubed on doors."

Now this is not the first time the 'Nazi' card has been played - hardline settlers were going around with numbers written on their arms trying to evoke memories of the Nazi Holocaust last month. And, while it may indeed be possible to draw some small comparisions with certain actions of the Nazi goverment - when one makes such comparisons about the Israeli state's treatment of Palestinains (such as the the 'security wall' being reminiscent of the Warsaw Ghetto, or the IDF's use of collective punishment) one is labelled an 'anti-semite' by these same extremists. So basically, I just find it rather amusing, in a sick way, that when all else fails, these hardliners are perfectly willing to play the Nazi card. Self-haters! (and personally I don't find it helpful to use comparisions to Nazi Germany, or even Aparthied South Africa when discussing Israel - the Israeli State's record of terror against the Palestinans speaks for itself and needs no inflammatory comparisons - leave that kind of thing to those extreme Zionists who jabber on about Palestinians being "fellow travellers of Al Qa'eda" and so on).

Finally, its interesting that Sharon should say "Attack me. I am responsible for this". Methinks Mr. Sharon should watch his words (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Rabin_assassination_conspiracy_theories).

08-17-2005, 06:02 PM
" Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation."

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.