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The kinder-transport of Israel
By Ariel Natan Pasko
The transports came roaring up the road, kicking up dust as they rocked from side to side. The Jews had been baking all morning, waiting out in the scorching June sun. They were rounded up early by the soldiers and told to line up in an orderly fashion. But how long could that last? Babies were crying, and little children were running this way and that, playing, while frightened mothers kept one eye on their kids and another on the soldiers guarding them.
The trucks pulled up to the crowd and stopped. Several soldiers got out and walked over to the huddled, frightened group of mothers and children. The soldiers barked orders to all the children, to get back in line by their mothers. The crying grew louder. The commanding officer walked over to the group and ordered them to take out their ID cards.
"This is the last check before leaving," he said. "We wouldn't want to leave anybody behind..."
Somewhere in Europe in 1944? No, this is Gaza, in 2005...
Ever since Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon annunciated his policy of turning Gaza into a "Judenrein Zone," they knew it was coming to this. Most of the people had left much earlier. The men were either taken off to jail, or had left for work or shopping and then not let back into their towns. Most of the women left peacefully after their men-folk were expelled, but some hardcores stayed.
This was the last group of Jews in Gaza, and Commander X -- all the soldiers involved in the expulsions covered their faces and were called X -- due to threats of reprisals. Not from the "settlers" I might add, but from their supporters throughout the land.
The rabbis had already called on soldiers not to participate in these evil deeds. Hundreds of religious soldiers -- those first called into action -- were already languishing away in military prisons. The army wanted to ferret out those most likely to disobey, so they at first, sent in only religious soldiers. They told the soldiers and "settlers" that this way they have nothing to fear. No beatings, no violence; they would be taken out by their own kind. But when the soldiers refused to carry out the "operation," they were hauled off to prison and replaced by club wielding anti-religious secularists, multi-generational leftists, and their Arab helpmates.
It didn't take long -- only a few weeks -- to empty most of the towns, after they had turned the water and electricity off, blockaded those left inside, stopped the food shipments and bus service, and started dropping teargas and sleeping gas on them.
But these were the hardcores; settler women driven with messianic zeal, and ferocious motherly love for their young, frightened by the prospects of the future unknown. Huddled together and cowered, they didn't look so threatening when Commander X was barking orders at them, now.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was keeping his promise to the nation, and to the Americans. He said he wouldn't let sentimentalism get in the way of the Roadmap and he kept his word. He proclaimed early on, that "painful concessions" would be necessary to keep the agreement with the Palestinians, and moving Jews out of parts of their historic homeland would happen. Yasser Arafat was probably rolling in his grave with joy.
Sharon was a man of his word, and even when Hamas started rocket attacks on his farm in the Negev, near Gaza, Sharon didn't veer from his plan. He earned every kilo of his nickname, "The Bulldozer". He bulldozed the very towns and cities that once in his youth he helped to plan-out and build. "We all must make sacrifices," he would remind the nation, even as he sifted through the rubble of his ranch house. "I intend to bring security and peace to this troubled land," he would bellow, always thinking, always planning.
Sharon was the true father of the settlements, and he was the true father of the "peace" that would come, with their destruction.
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's
Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear
regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers,
and can be read at: www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko. (c) 2004/5764 Pasko
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