It is hard to imagine that three years have passed since the hitnatkut (called the "disengagement" in English, but which really was a summary eviction) of the residents of the area known as Gush Katif, in Aza (the Gaza Strip). How a government can take a flourishing, producing community whose agricultural industries were self-sufficient and globally successful, evict them for no apparent reason (we'll go into that later) from their homes which they had basically built with their own hands and had been living in--some for as many as thirty years, with no definitive future plan for their living arrangements or livlihood on the books, and then demolish their homes and allow their greenhouses to turn into rubble, is mind-boggling, and absolutely irrational.
The s0-called 'reasons' for then PM Ariel Sharon's 'plan'- if there was one - were mainly to show the global community how pro-active Israel was to promote Peace with the Palestinians, which of course we know now as the title of a work of fiction. Problem is, we knew it then, too. But that 'we' does not include the government or the powers-which-were-and-unfortunately-still-are.
If, one might say (playing devil's advocate), this expulsion and relinquishing land that had been captured in a defensive war had lead to a true peace, perhaps it would have been accepted as necessary for the greater good and Israel's future.
I do not agree with this. According to common international law, Israel captured territory in a defensive war, and thus has greater title to it:
Furthermore, the Gaza area was not even under another sovereign country's rule before captured by Israel in the 1967 war (italics and bold mine):
Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Meir Shamgar wrote in the 1970s that there is no de jure applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention regarding occupied territories to the case of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the Convention "is based on the assumption that there had been a sovereign who was ousted and that he had been a legitimate sovereign."
In fact, prior to 1967, Jordan had occupied the West Bank and Egypt had occupied the Gaza Strip; their presence in those territories was the result of their illegal invasion in 1948, in defiance of the UN Security Council. Jordan's 1950 annexation of the West Bank was recognized only by Great Britain (excluding the annexation of Jerusalem) and Pakistan, and rejected by the vast majority of the international community, including the Arab states.
The wholesale eviction of it's citizens was an unethical, immoral event. The results were not even close to what might have been envisioned; they were disastrous: the Arabs, having been given a chance to prove their readiness for statehood with Gaza handed to them on a silver platter (complete with future potential industry in the form of greenhouses intact)--who could have drawn up a constitution or civil rules of law, developed an infrastructure and built their people's future through commerce and industry, instead turned it into a cesspool and a dung heap, destroying everything in their path, including the greenhouses.
And then I read on Jameel's blog (scroll down to "sorry about the disengagement") that apparently an Israeli soldier who was involved in the hitnatkut was feeling very guilty over her participation in it; her conscience was bothering her (the YNet article is in Hebrew).
On Israel National News (Arutz Sheva), it was partially translated it into English, under the title Female Soldier Asks Forgiveness. I'm sure the average Israeli has no clue that what the government, the Arabs and the global community call "settlements," are towns just like theirs; just like Tel-Aviv and Haifa were, many years ago. Towns which are alive and vibrant and thriving. The soldiers were 'just following orders'...where have I heard that before?
This is some of what this soldier had to say:
"I hope the families and residents will forgive me, first of all as a private individual who did this terrible thing, and also as a citizen of this country. I hope they forgive me as a soldier, because I carried out a mission in the name of the country and its legislative branch, because of my belief in the country's values. But I feel that that as a country, I betrayed them. I betrayed them as an individual and as a country, and I hope that they forgive me.
Read whole thing in English, here. Can you imagine this happening in the United States? Watch and listen to Anita Tucker formerly of Netzer Hazani, recounting the day her family was expelled.
Until this atrocity-yes, atrocity-is rectified (as we say), lo nishkach ve-lo nislach.*
*We will not forget and we will not forgive.