Real stories about Israeli “disengagement” from the West Bank and
Gaza are hard to come by via the mainstream American media, who prefer
to feed us our international news in bite-sized, easy-to-swallow
chewable tablets of information. A screaming Palestinian here, a
defiant Israeli settler there, and a few shots of Ariel Sharon looking
all the more like the guy from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” who
is so overweight he eventually explodes, and we have ourselves enough
disengagement news to last until Larry King’s next interview with
Jessica Hahn (who, by the way, apparently gets boob jobs as often as
most people get oil changes. Oh, and she slept with Hugh Hefner, but
So instead I read online versions of Israeli newspapers like Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post. I listen to Israel National Radio,
which is so far to the right if it moved any further it would have to
change its name to Jordan National Radio. And of course, I follow the
blogosphere, reading posts from Israelis and Palestinians and Americans
who, like me, wonder what is really going on in settlements like Gush Katif in Gaza, where thousands of people will lose their homes or die trying to keep them.
It doesn’t matter where you come down on this issue; I have my
opinions, but I wouldn’t dare assume that I have better insight into
what’s going on than the people who live there. I am concerned,
however, that the Israeli homeowners in the occupied territories are
surrounded not just by Hamas or Islamic Jihad but also by another enemy
— other Israelis.
Left-wing Israelis accuse the defiant settlers of damaging the road
map to peace (as if that road hasn’t been damaged enough). Right-wing
Israelis demand the settlers stand firm because to do anything less is
to dishonor G-d and country. Stay you lose, leave you lose – sounds
more like the Vegas Strip than the Gaza Strip.
Passions and opinions understandably run high. On Jewlicious, a writer wrote
somewhat lightheartedly about Gush Katif’s organic agriculture industry
and how its homegrown lettuce will no longer be available after
disengagement. A reader commented, “Screw the Lettuce!!! That’s the
least of our troubles, how about the victory going to the enemy! How
about the plans the enemy has for the land!!!”
It gets worse than mere attacks on helpless produce. One pro-settler group reportedly
placed a “curse” on Sharon to make him drop dead within 30 days. An
Israeli blogger called an American Jewish blogger who supports the
disengagement plan a Judenrat (derogatory slang for Nazi puppet).
I agree with blogger Lisa Rosenblatt who wrote: “Peace and security surrounding Israel means nothing unless there is internal peace amongst Israelis and all Jews.”
Disengagement begins Aug. 15. Screw the lettuce – and let’s hope for the best.