January 20, 2009

Just say you're sorry

By Nadav Shragai

Now, after the war and just before the election whirlwind sucks in our
politicians once again, it would be appropriate for many of them to go out
of their way and visit the mobile-home sites where those uprooted from Gush
Katif live. This way they can tell them one small thing: I'm sorry.

Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert, Shaul Mofaz and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israel
Defense Forces and the police should do this - they, their agents and
everyone else who initiated, implemented and aided in using force to uproot
10,000 people from their homes in Gush Katif and Northern Samaria,
maliciously and without any real purpose. Everyone who saw some good in the
evil of the disengagement and evil in the good of Gush Katif has turned
light into darkness and darkness into light. At the very least, they are
obligated to make this small apology.

This includes the judges of the High Court of Justice who did not even
bother to visit Gush Katif and made due with defense experts acting on
behalf of the state "because that is the postion of the court since it was
founded." The justices who ruled as they did because they automatically
assumed that such a plan "improves the security situation" because "the
evacuation reduces the desire of the Palestinians to harm the Israeli
population." It would be appropriate for the honorable justices to take a
vacation day as an act of forgiveness and go down south for a close-up look
at the results of their decisions.
This also includes the media, which provided a challenge for Ariel Sharon
and allowed him to turn a prosperous agricultural land, a world full of
communities, synagogues, yeshivas and magnificent educational institutions
into piles of rubble. Also the heads of the IDF and Shin Bet security
service who never spoke in public what they whispered in the backrooms, and
the soldiers and policemen who dragged the pioneers of Kfar Darom and Neveh
Dekalim from their houses while raining blows on the demonstrators who
understood what would come.

The apology must also include everyone who painted those who warned that the
rockets from Gaza would reach Sderot, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva as delusional
and opponents of peace. Everyone who promised that they would "give it to
them" after the first Qassam, but in the end cried about the moral and
international constraints that prevented them from doing so, and for years
abandoned the south. It must include those who took the name of democracy in
vain and aided Sharon in deceiving Likud members and breaking his promises
to honor Likud's decisions once it became clear to Sharon that the party's
members did not agree with him.

You, too, who paid almost no attention to the hundreds of thousands who
tried to stop the evil, who paid no attention to those who internalized the
lessons of Oslo and warned that we should not give them land and guns again.
You who paid no attention to those who warned of the Hamastan state, foresaw
exactly the trajectories of the rockets, and understood that this was
something we gave away for free, a further disintegration of our power of
deterrence and an adrenaline shot for terror.

Now rise and ask for forgiveness from those who paid the highest price, with
their bodies, souls and property for your close-mindedness, arrogance and
wickedness. Ask for forgiveness from the Gush Katif expellees, the noble
souls who did not steal land from anyone, who made the empty dunes bloom as
ambassadors of the State of Israel and who turned into the south's security
buffer and absorbed over 6,000 Qassams and mortar shells with their bodies
and belongings in the last years of Gush Katif.

Ask for forgiveness from those who swore to "win with love" - who believed
and sowed until the very last minute; from those who did not raise a hand
against the soldiers. Apologize to those who continued to enlist in the IDF
and pay the ultimate price even after they were expelled from their houses,
because they understood that the state - the national homeland of the Jewish
people, even within limited borders - is still bigger than any mistaken and
confused government.

There is no way to know if they will forgive you, but you at least need to


  1. Outstanding article. I am enormously honoured and privileged to live in Yad Binyamin amongst many of the Gush Katif expellees. It is also incredibly heartbreaking to see them 3 years layter still living in tiny, cramped caravanim with nowhere to hide from rocket fire when the sirens go...Yet they remain strong and positive. Their faith is unswerving. They leave me humbled and awed