It looks as though the drama of Jews being taken from their Gaza digs may have been just that: drama. This morning I came across a couple of unrelated sources with a somewhat jaundiced view of the event.
Last night viewers of Channel 10 News got to see an item showing the police and the army breaking into the women’s part of a synagogue in one of the Gush Katif settlements. Huddled in one corner together were thirty or forty schoolgirls of about thirteen or fourteen years of age, who had apparently locked themselves in there and had been there for two days. As the camera moved closer, viewers were surprised to see a grown-up among them, a woman. Viewers were even more surprised to be told that this woman, who had been sitting with them, locked up, refusing to come out, not cooperating with army and police attempts to negotiate, was their teacher.
According to the reporter, this teacher, the obviously very charismatic Rabbaneet (wife of the Rabbi) Something-or-other, was much loved by her students. Her husband had sadly been killed in a terrorist attack.
Today at work everyone was talking about it. “Did you see those kids in the synagogue?” Without failure the next thing said was, “Did you say the crazy look their teacher had in her eyes?”
So it wasn’t just me who had noticed.
I have a daughter that age. The phrase that comes to mind is parental neglect. Neglect if the girls were there with their parents’ consent. Neglect if they were there without it. Neglect that none of the parents seemed to have thought that their daughters’ beloved teacher perhaps had an unhealthy influence on their daughters, that she was perhaps somewhat unstable. Of course, I don’t know this about her or them, I’m just surmising, but you must admit, it does look very strange, doesn’t it?
I have had a change of heart. Last week we were all so moved by the settlers’ pain at being removed from their homes, from their lives. We cried and cried along with them.
As the days go by, and we take stock of what we have been seeing, much of the settlers’ tears are looking less and less sincere to me, and more and more like, at best, the result of a hysterical frenzy spinning out of control, and at worst – a mechanical emotional manipulation.
Today as I watched a little kid on TV screeching abuse at soldiers, completely hysterical, I was filled with disgust and derision for parents who not only tolerate such behavior from their children, but actually encourage it.
People in Israel proper, at least the ones I know, no matter which way they lean, are getting a bit fed up.
Right now, it’s looking like the evacuation of Sa-Nur and Homesh in the Northern Samaria this week are going to be far more violent than the evacuation of Gush Katif. I do believe Israelis have been desensitized enough to the suffering of the settlers and their supporters, as a result of the behavior of many of them, that they will be less than horrified if the evacuators are not as gentle in their tactics this time around.
And this AP story by Louis Meixler...
As Israeli soldiers dragged Jewish settlers from their homes, one settler walked in front of about a dozen television cameras and wailed: "How could they do this? This the land of Israel." When the cameras were turned off, he stopped crying and walked away.
Another family invited a television crew into their homes and then insisted that soldiers drag them out.
There's no question that settlers were genuinely grieving over the loss of their homes, their livelihood and their dreams. But they were also keenly aware that their struggle was being broadcast across the world, showing how difficult it is for the Jewish state to pull settlers from occupied land.
"The (settlers') goal was to create a legacy, a trauma that was so big ... that no Israeli government would dare to do something similar in the future," Nahum Barnea, a columnist for the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, told The Associated Press.
And that goal may, along with intense media coverage, have dovetailed with the aims of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has said that Israel will not consider pulling the bulk of its settlers from the West Bank, the heartland of biblical Israel, despite pressure from Washington to evacuate more settlements.
"The political decision to let the media in was to get every favorable point in world public opinion," said veteran military correspondent Ron Ben Yishai, now a commentator for Yediot Ahronot.
"The reason was to show the world, look how it is when we have to evict ... people from Gaza," Ben Yishai said. "Try to imagine what will happen if you try to evict all the settlements in Judea and Samaria," he added using the biblical names for the West Bank.
The Israeli army, which sometimes limits press coverage of military operations, let more than 500 journalists — one for every three settler families — into Gaza to cover the withdrawal, even providing shuttle buses and refreshments. Journalists were in almost every settler home, embedded with military units and broadcasting live from synagogues as the army dragged settlers out of houses of worship.
"Every side, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the settlers all know the media is the most dominant tool to achieve your goals and they use it," said Maj. Sharon Feingold, a spokeswoman for the Israeli army.
Rafah Pundits picked it up at once. A search showed it to be pretty widely distributed. It's an interesting meme.
I am beginning to sense that the blog world, very much like talk radio, is tilted heavily toward the political right. Oh, there are plenty of sites on the lunatic fringe (Notice the derivations of "moonbat" and "lunatic" - luna=moon...), but like that circus in Texas, they represent a rag-tag bunch of ideologues with little common purpose and virtually nothing in the way of focus. Contrast that image with the scrubbed and respectable image of the right, standing proudly under the flag, flanked by business executives on one side and military commanders on the other. They are so clean you can almost smell the aftershave.
I dunno. This polarization seems to be getting worse rather than better. My sympathies remain with the disposessed, but it is getting harder and harder to know who they are.