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The Hebrew word Eikha-- How--is both the title and the first word of the biblical book known in English as "Lamentations", an outpouring of anguish over the Babylonian conquest of the Kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. It is read aloud on the anniversary of that destruction, the 9th day of the month Av [Tisha b'Av} in the Hebrew calendar.
Almost 2,600 years have passed since that calamity, and during that time others have befallen on the same date -- the 9th of Av. In this current year, the 9th of Av was selected as the date for the Disengagement-Expulsion. All other calamities inflicted on Israel-Judah and the Jewish people, on this or any other day of the year, were the work of foreign enemies. This one is unique in that was conceived and perpetrated by a gang that has hijacked governing power in Israel and forced on its own people and nation.
This gang is so disengaged from any Jewish feeling that they seemingly
never noticed the special significance of the date they chose. When it
was pointed out to them, they postponed their personal Day of Infamy
to 10th of Av -- a date when the Temple was still burning.
586 BCE - Babylon conquers Judah and destroys Jerusalem and the First Temple
70 CE -- Rome conquers Judea and destroys Jerusalem and the Second Temple
132 CE -- Bar-Kokhba is slain in battle and the revolt against Rome is crushed
134 CE -- Rome tries to found a new city of Aelia Capitolina on the ruins of Jerusalem
1290 CE -- King Edward I orders all Jews expelled from England
1492 CE -- King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expel all Jews from Spain
1942 CE -- Germans begin deporting Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the death camps
2005 CE -- The last day of life for Jewish communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria
 Arab terrorists gloat at what they imagine to be their victory over the cowardly Jews whom they have put to flight. They assume that more terror will lead to more flight until all the Jews have gone. That this notion is incorrect does not reduce the danger of the terrorism it inspires.
 Public personalities most ungracious toward Israel and Israelis applaud what they correctly perceive as a self-inflicted dire injury that they welcome. Ariel Sharon has the unaccustomed experience of congratulations from the likes of Kofi Annan, Thabo Mbeke of South Africa, and even Jacques Chirac -- the President of France who predicted that Israel will be merely "a parenthesis in history". Sharon can expect an ovation at the Israel-phobic United Nations. Indeed he deserves more cheers there than greeted Yasser Arafat, for of the two he has done the greater harm to Israel.
 Observors and commentators friendly toward Israel are aghast at the folly of the deed and apprehensive of the consequences. They know well enough that the Disengagement-Expulsion is a disaster for Israel, the Jewish people, and in the long run for the free world that strives to stand against Islamist triumphalism.
Many of these compose their own lamentation that the people of Israel have collectively lost their will to live, their once respected courage and steadfastness, and perhaps their wits as well. What is often not understood is that "Israel" never chose the Disengagement-Expulsion any more than it chose the lethal Oslo Accords. Both were pushed through by a small but powerful gang, contemptuous of any will but its own, that knows how to misuse a defective electoral system to get its own way.
Israel's electorate has always chosen candidates and party platforms that are committed to upholding the rights and securing the heritage of the nation. It has never approved a party platform or party leader proposing to surrender the Land of Israel or appease its enemies or cater to the false claims of defeated aggressors. But time and again, especially since 1992, the electorate has been betrayed by officeholders unworthy of the power entrusted to them. [See Issue No. 49] It is not the will or the determination of the people of Israel collectively that has dwindled. On the contrary, the experiences of the Disengagement-Expulsion, and all the attendant arrogance, corruption, and brutality of the usurping gang, has roused and strengthened that will and determination.
 Some observers and commentators not generally hostile to Israel assume that the elected government of a democracy acts in what it honestly believes to be the best interests of its nation and people. Therefore, so they suppose, there must be some reasonable and honest motive for the Disengagement-Expulsion.
To justify this assumption they grope for a rational, tactical purpose to justify so drastic an operation. They opine that --
* "Israel will have more compact and defendable frontiers" -- when in fact more of Israel and its residents have been exposed to greater dangers, while the ability to defend them has been compromised.
* "afterwards the PLO will show its real colors" -- as though it has not been showing its real colors since it was founded in 1964, with no damage to its international standing.
* "the ball will be in their court" -- with these pundits acting as referees at a sporting event. Whether they will blow a whistle if they detect a foul remains to be seen.
* "demographic balance requires the exclusion of Gaza Arabs" -- even though those Arabs, their numbers swelled by an influx of terrorists from all directions, will still be there and still at Israel's throat.
* "9,000 Jews cannot live in Gaza among 1,000,000 Arabs who do not want them there" -- and by that token the 5,000,000 Jews of Israel cannot live in the Middle East among 200,000,000 Arabs who do not want them there, and the 15,000,000 Jews of the world cannot live on planet earth among 6,000,000,000 people most of whom do not want them there.
* "it was a democratic decision and so had to be carried out" -- but in fact the decision was pushed through the cabinet and the Knesset by a succession of political dirty tricks that mocked and subverted democracy. It did not win popular support, and the passionately dedicated opposition was subjected to brutal police-state persecution. [See Issue No. 55]
[Comment: The fall-back argument, when all others fail the rationality test, is that any law passed by a democratically-elected government must be obeyed in the interests of the Rule of Law. By that line of reasoning, the democratically-enacted U.S. Fugitive Slave Act should have been obeyed by every good citizen. Huckleberry Finn knew better than that.]
It may be that these sophisticated pundits rely for their misinformation on the standard news media, which ignore the sleaze, greed, and spite that drove the Disengagement-Expulsion. Even so, it is an odd scale of judgment on which the flimsy and largely illusory "advantages" outweigh the outrages of the Disengagement-Expulsion against the body, heart, and soul of Israel and the Jewish people.
 Some commentators approve the Expulsion merely because it suits
the whim of an individual for whom they have conceived a political
infatuation. Infatuation is immune to facts and logic.
 It was not originally forced upon the Sharon regime by pressure from the United States. Sharon made a public revelation of his intent in the latter months of the year 2003. The U.S. administration adopted the PLO as its protégé only after the demise or Yasser Arafat and the installation of Mahmoud Abbas, more than a year later. The incumbent administration in time became an enforcer for the Sharon scheme but it was not the designer.
 Up to the moment the Expulsion was actually perpetrated, the Sharon regime and its mouthpieces presented no even minimally persuasive arguments of how it would benefit Israel.
 It was hard indeed to produce any good reasons, but some bad ones have been revealed. Among them --
* In both the law-enforcement/judiciary establishment and the mass media establishment there is a bias toward appeasement and against most things Judaic. A scheme like the Disengagement-Expulsion would so please them in order to forward it they might look aside from the crimes and alleged crimes of Ariel Sharon and his sons Gilad and Omri. This expectation turned out to be fairly well justified, as admitted in both judiciary and media quarters. [See Issues Nos. 50, 51, 55]
* There were enticing prospects of profits to be made out of the Disengagement-Expulsion. One of the leading beneficiaries-to-be is Sharon's attorney-confidante-consigliore Dov Weissglas, who first enlisted U.S. support to push it through. Others include government employees placed in charge of carrying out the Expulsion, who are collecting more than their government salaries out of it. [See Issues Nos. 50, 51, 55]
* The clique that has permeated the judicial system, the educational system, and the mass media has provided both the impetus and the support first for Oslo and now for Expulsion.
This clique preens itself as the elite with the exclusive right to run the nation because they are the enlightened, sophisticated, liberal, progressive, pragmatic, worldly intelligentsia, who have thrown off the fetters of tradition, obsolete morality, and Jewish particularism. Their exemplar is Shimon Peres, who divides the population of Israel into "the Israelis" versus "the Jews" and announces to the world that the Jews have no moral claim to the Land of Israel. [See Issue No. 49]
The Peresite Oslo Accords were devised and this clique embraced them because they would negate the belief of the despised "Jews" that the long-yearned-for redemption of their historic homeland had been achieved. The Accords carried out to their fullest would prove that the redemption was fleeting and the belief false.
Some of the more naive of the public at first supposed the Accords were a sacrifice in exchange for peace, but for the Osloids they were a means to break the Jewish heart and crush the Jewish spirit and secure for themselves a secular-socialist rump state.
Disengagement-Expulsion was necessary for the Peresite-Osloid clique because it is their dogma that traditional, observant Jews who love the Land of Israel and are dedicated to redeeming and rebuilding it are primitive, ignorant, superstitious, violent, ugly, greedy, idle, unproductive, parasitical.
Yet it was just such Jews who -- encouraged and supported by the government of the day -- went to the empty sand dunes of Gaza, to public not private land, never owned by anyone, never inhabited much less tilled, and in a generation turned it into model communities. They built well-planned towns and villages, with synagogues, schools, and parks. They lived by old-fashioned standards of faithful family life, good neighborliness, and community cooperation. They held firm under years of terrorist attacks and murders and rains of shells upon them. They produced the most advanced agriculture in the world, their greenhouses producing the highest quality fruits and vegetables that earned Israel hundreds of millions of dollars in exports.
The anti-Judaic clique could not endure accomplishments so
contradictory to its cherished and indispensable contempt for "the
Jews". What had been built must be destroyed. It must begin with
Gush-Katif and parts of Samaria, and then on to more expulsions and
destructions, the alienation of more the Land, and finally the
ultimate crushing blow, the sacrifice of Jerusalem.
 To push through his scheme, Sharon had to win approval first in his own cabinet and then in the Knesset [Parliament]. In a recent election, the voters had chosen the anti-appeasement platform of the Likud Party that Sharon headed, and massively rejected the pro-appeasement platform of the Peresite Labor Party.
The catch for Sharon is that the Likud Platform was opposed to anything like his Disengagement-Expulsion scheme, while the opposition Labor Party supported it. Therefore he had to throw out the Likud cabinet ministers who stood firm against him -- whom he thereafter dubbed the "rebels" -- and give their places to the temporarily supportive Labor Party that enabled him to push the scheme through the Knesset.
Outside of the elected bodies of government, the Disengagers had their support already in place:
* an obliging Attorney-General had recently been appointed to office.
* an IDF Chief-of-Staff not so obliging was tossed out in favor of a more amenable replacement.
* the upper levels of the judiciary had long been dominated by members of the clique who now rendered a verdict that the state was permitted to violate the civic and human rights of the citizens in a cause approved by the clique.
* there was no need to prepare a base of support in the popular mass media for the media had long been baying for just such action. The previously non-Osloid but now converted English-language Jerusalem Post joined the pack.
"The Duke of York, he had ten thousand men.
First he marched them up the hill and then he marched them down again." -- Nursery rhyme
The Disengagers-Expulsionsers exploited all means to success, and were not fastidious about how they did it. Politicians and Knesset members who vowed not to permit the evil deed to be done found no way to act against it. The Opposition meandered through a range of protest activities as though protest was an end in itself rather than a means to success.
Unfortunately, direction of Opposition endeavors was vested in the Yesha Council (representing the communities of Judea and Samaria). This gave the less-informed of the public the impression that the Opposition was primarily a "settler" cause when in reality it was a national cause.
This leadership repeated the same tactics that had failed to forefend the Oslo Accords: Protest meetings, rallies, marches, slogans, tokens, and such pointless devices as blocking traffic. These tactics did not change government policy on Oslo, and they did not change government policy on Disengagement-Expulsion.
Tens of thousands of people went on long marches and camped out in the open singing sweet songs -- to no purpose. A quarter-of-a-million people came together for a protest rally, that did not touch a regime contemptuous of the voice of the people. A third-of-a-million people came together for prayer, that did not touch a regime contemptuous of the spiritual.
A Sharon regime official proclaimed a pro-Disengagement rally, and after much publicity and hoopla it garnered an attendance of a few dozen people. But the regime had the power, and no scruples about misusing the power, and so it prevailed.
 The nation has been indelibly stained with dishonor.
 For the first time in a 4,000-year-old history, an Israelite/Jewish regime has used force to tear its own people off of its own Land.
 For perhaps the first time in history, a regime has made a gift of territory to a defeated aggressor still openly bent on its destruction.
 The IDF [Israel Defense Forces], the mainstay of Israel's survival, has been tainted and compromised because it was misused to enforce a political program of a tyrannical regime.
 Almost 10,000 of its most loyal, well-behaved, courageous and productive citizens have been turned into refugees in their own country, deprived of their homes, their land and property, their work, and their communities.
They now wander from one inadequate temporary shelter to another, some bereft even of changes of clothing. Large families are squeezed into one small hotel room or trailer. Some families must still keep up mortgage payments on houses that they Sharon regime has blown to rubble.
Emotional and material support comes from private citizens and not from the regime that made them refugees.
Concerns of that regime towards the refugees are to --
* thwart their desperate desire to remains together as communities and not be scattered.
* cheat them on the compensation promised but not paid.
* exploit them by price-gauging for the "service" of moving and storing the possessions that could be saved from their homes that were demolished..
 Civil rights and the democratic rights of non-violent dissent have been trampled. The police became agents of the regime, acting with excessive and generally unrestrained force toward non-violent dissenters. [See Issue No. 55]
Prisons were filled with those who dared to defy the regime, even when the "defiance" was to distribute symbolic orange ribbons. Girls in their early and middle teens were held in prison for many weeks, on charges of minor misdemeanors for which the normal penalty is payment of a small fine.
Some arrests seem to have been instigated by pure spite: When a lawyer set up a legal counseling service for dissenters, his wife was thrown into prison and held for weeks on a trumped-up charge. She was permitted to keep with her a nine-month-old daughter who was not weaned, who thereby became the Sharon regime's youngest political prisoner.
 It has destroyed communities that produced 15 percent of Israel's agriculture, and that of such exceptionally high quality that it was earning millions of dollars a year in exports.
 It has empowered and emboldened the enemy, who takes it as evidence that its terrorism has been successful, and more terrorism will be more successful.
 It has whet the appetites of the U.S. State Department and the European Union, who assume that an Israel that inflicts such damage on itself can be made to inflict more.
 It leaves the Gaza strip completely under the control of terrorists that compete in how many attacks they can make against Israelis. There will be no more limits on how many weapons the terrorists can acquire, and those weapons will be set up where they can hit more targets in Israel.
 It returns to Egypt most of the power that it forfeited by its failed aggressions against Israel. Despite the peace treaty of 1978, Egypt has never ceased its hostility and its political-diplomatic conniving against Israel. Throughout the Oslo War, Egypt has smuggled weapons to the terrorists in Gaza.
Under the terms of the peace treaty, Israel surrendered to Egypt the entire Sinai Peninsula on condition of strict limitation of Egyptian military forces there. Now, those limitations have been annulled. Still hostile Egypt is permitted to bring in military forces and station them on the frontiers of Israel's Negev, to control the crossing points between Israel and PLO-Gaza, and patrol the Mediterranean coast as far north as the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
With these advantages bestowed upon it, Egypt not only has its forces on Israel's land and sea borders, but also the capacity to spy on Israeli movements and communications, and to protect PLO/Hamas terrorist bases from any Israeli action against them.
The demarcation line will be guarded by European Union personnel. If the Sharon-Peres regime succumbs to Bush-Rice Administration pressure to let its protege PLO have full control of a seaport and airport, there will be no way to limit the import of deadly weaponry.
 It has brought about the very antithesis of what its sponsors and executors intended. The Jewish spirit of Israel and love of the Land has not been crushed. The bitter experience has strengthened the spirit and the love, and awakened them where they had been dormant.
Among the young couples who built the now wrecked Gush Katif was David and Tali Hatuel.
On 2 May 2004, 34-year-old Tali was driving to her home with her four daughters, 11-year-old Hila, 9-year-old Hadar, 7-year-old Roni, and 2-year-old Merav. Tali was eight-months pregnant with a son.
All of them were shot to death by PLO terrorists attacking the car. The terrorists came up to the window to shoot more bullets at close range. They carefully aimed at Tali's abdomen to make sure the unborn baby could not survive. They later fired at the mourners at the funeral of these victims.
David Hatuel, the bereaved husband and father, remained in GushKatif. Now he has been driven out and his home and land will go to the terrorist entity that slaughtered his wife and children.
If the Prophet Elijah challenged the terrorists, "Will you murder
and also take possession?" [I Kings 21:19], their response would be a
sneering "We will murder more, because that is the way to take
possession of more".
Patricia Berlyn is a writer and editor who is a native of New York,
N.Y. and now resides in Israel.
This essay is archived as "A Time to Speak -- Messages About
Israel", Vol. V:12 (No. 56) (August 2005 -- Tammuz-Av 5765)
"A Time To Speak" appears once a month, and each issue is on a
theme that relates to Israel and the Middle East past and present,
including history, background, current events, analysis and comment.
All issues appear on its website: http://www.israel.net/timetospeak. A
complimentary subscription to the e-mail edition is available by
request to: email@example.com.
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Patricia Berlyn is a writer and editor who is a native of New York, N.Y. and now resides in Israel.
This essay is archived as "A Time to Speak -- Messages About Israel", Vol. V:12 (No. 56) (August 2005 -- Tammuz-Av 5765)
"A Time To Speak" appears once a month, and each issue is on a theme that relates to Israel and the Middle East past and present, including history, background, current events, analysis and comment. All issues appear on its website: http://www.israel.net/timetospeak. A complimentary subscription to the e-mail edition is available by request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.