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New Stage
חיפוש בבמה

שם משתמש או מספר
סיסמתך
[ אני רוצה משתמש! ]
[ איבדתי סיסמה ): ]


מדורי במה







ליאור גולגר
/ Eviction Chronicles

Morning dear,

Rather than constructing my present emotional state, I'll
just tell you all about those two disengagement weeks, so
you'd have enough distraction off work. [...]
I started writing you this outrageously long letter on
Sunday, August 28th. Somewhere along the way I've decided to
go down to petty details, before I forget them. You don't
really have to read it all, surely not all in one time. I
don't expect you to understand what it felt like to
evacuate. [...]





Neve Dkalim 14-18.8.2005


Let's jump back to Sunday, August 14th. It was the ninth of
Av [1], which I didn't observe this year, so we were asked
to report to base late in the afternoon. Then as always we
were taken overnight to our tent town near the Gaza strip
[2,3]. By midnight the Gaza strip officially turned off
limits to all Israeli citizens, including those still
refusing to leave it. Originally our commanders were
supposed to come in to the Gaza strip settlements to deliver
decrees ordering the settlers to leave until Tuesday
midnight (48 hours), trying to convince them to leave in
peace, while we'd be home or at least sleeping in our tents.
But then some wise guy thought "Hey, what if some families
decide to leave but need help packing? Why shouldn't we send
soldiers to help?". So early Monday morning we were carried
into the Gaza strip, for the first time in my life, me
assigned to the "movers" bus at the end of the convoy. Other
people were assigned the crucial tasks of escorting the
commanders as they enter the houses, or guarding the wheels
of our buses from being punctured. We were taken to Neve
Dkalim (literally "Palm Oasis"), the largest settlement in
the Gaza strip (about 2000 residents). Its gates were
blocked by hundreds of protesters, so we sat all day on the
bus or on a sand dune near it, about 500m away from the
gates. Since I brought one of my cymbals along, and could
chat with a pretty redhead (a community center teacher in
ordinary days), it was good enough. The Gaza strip was more
beautiful than I expected, with plenty of palm trees and
other vegetation, hothouses, sand dunes, Arab and Jewish
settlements, and a clear blue sea in the horizon. There were
also
plenty of fortifications, tanks and other armoured vehicles
positioned on the way.

Tuesday we just waited for Wednesday, so my pals were taken
to some shitty theater show while I volunteered to stay in
the tent and "guard" our stuff. Thus I could practice my
cymbal in shorts with two ventilators while they were on
uniform in the heat. Then some stranger brought his guitar
along and we played together for a couple of hours. Then,
alas, a change in plans. It was decided to take us back to
Neve Dkalim, whose gate was welded off overnight, to make a
last minute attempt to convince its residents to leave, as
after midnight they lose up to 30% of their compensations.
At 8PM, timed in by TV cameras, we marched in by our
hundreds. It was weak. Hundreds of settlers were there to
shout on us, insult us, demoralize us and look us in the
eyes. At first they behaved just like in our simulations,
and yet it wasn't easy. One furious youngster was pumping
petrol out of a car into a plastic tank, then got mad at me
for staring at him. As his hand moved into his pocket I was
scared he's gonna pull out a lighter and burn us all up. He
didn't, but it shows you how unfamiliar we were with the
whole situation, expecting anything might happen.

We were given about ten homes to visit that night. Which
means my commander would knock on each door escorted by some
of my pals, while we waited outside and quietly began
speaking with the protesting settlers. My commander was
rather successful in convincing them residents, as most
finally started packing. I carried a backpack for one
family, new immigrants from France. They were so sad and
disoriented. It didn't feel right to do it in the dark.
Later we were sent to create a human chain around one of the
evacuation buses, its front already smeared by paint
balloons. The protesters were clearly mostly outsiders, and
the locals had a hard time convincing them to respect the
decision of some of the residents to leave. Then after
midnight we marched out to Neve Dkalim's industrial zone. I
fell asleep on the floor before the mattresses arrived.

Early Wednesday morning we marched back into Neve Dkalim,
this time to evict, by force if necessary. Each team had to
evacuate two houses per day, so there was time enough for
negotiations. The first family made no packings, wet laundry
still hanged outside. Eventually they said they'd leave by
11:00, and we continued to the next house. They wouldn't let
us in, and one of their babies became dehydrated, and it was
a whole mess to get a doctor and convince them to let him
in. Eventually the baby was treated, my commander convinced
them to leave, and they began their mourning rituals. This
is roughly when I entered the house, in case they ask for
any assistance. They put a sad Jewish song in loop in their
stereo, made a tear in their shirts [4], and one woman kept
weeping. They were enraged, betrayed, stressed, you name it,
and we were there to take it all from them.

I don't think you can understand what it feels like to step
into the home of a family in this situation. Imagine
entering a Flemish village in Wallonia, after the Flemish
parliament decides to make Wallonia Flemish-free. Imagine
how would you feel like if your residence in your home was
declared illegal. Sure you experience packing and moving
right now, but no one forced you to do it, nor has anyone
timed your departure. Their anger was mostly directed at the
government and the state that has betrayed them, but we were
sometimes their boxing bags.

One of the sons in this family was roughly my age. He
started throwing stuff from the full fridge to the floor,
telling us to take it to Sderot [5]. One of the common
accusations against the settlements is that they're
generously funded while nearby development towns like Sderot
struggle with unemployment and poverty. This wasn't entirely
correct in the case of the Gaza strip settlements, as their
export of organic vegetables is a considerable source of
income. As this was a family of agronomists, their
illegitimation in the media made them very pissed off, and
they poured it all on us. At one point he even tried to
insert a frozen roll of phyllo to my shirt, and I took a
step back. So much for physical violence in this
evacuation.

Eventually most of the family left and we kept standing in
the kitchen as that son and his brother figured out how to
dismantle the air conditioner. Now that the weeping woman
and the looping song were gone, things somewhat calmed down.
They were already tired of expressing their rage, and the
physical problem of detaching the bloody thing off the wall
was an easy escape. We weren't asked to help, but they did
give in to our sandwiches and drinks.

We had a lunchtime rest in a local playground while the
eviction continued in other homes. I think it was about then
that we heard the chief of staff ordered Neve Dkalim
evacuation should be completed by nighttime. Instead of
evicting two homes per day, we now had to evacuate a house
in 15 minutes. This unrealistic pace was plainly ignored by
our platoon commander, who kept giving things their time.
However it implied evacuation went on for us.

Our next mission was a big villa, its family has already
left but the elder son came back and stayed in with several
friends. We surrounded the place and negotiation began, when
a nearby bus fell into a trap. Some idiots dug a pit in the
sand, covered it with a light board, then the bus drove over
it and its wheel fell in. A human chain was quickly formed
ahead of it, and we had to catch the protesters and carry
them off to another bus. In this incident I had to carry a
stretcher while the others worked. The bus was quickly towed
out and we got on to the next villa (the big one was now
taken care of by another team).

The next family was quite hostile, with a most annoying 11
year old girl who took the whole thing very seriously. As
our commander went in for negotiations, she kept telling the
other officers to get off her garden and the shade of her
tree. So eventually we pulled out to the street by the shade
of some containers and ate snacks, while our commander kept
sweating inside. I think it was then I first noticed we
don't hear any birds singing. There were only pigeons there,
with some occasional swallows. The ubiquitous sparrows just
weren't there.
Three young outsiders accidently passed by us and it was
decided to cease the opportunity and catch them. One of them
identified himself as a reservist IDF officer living in Neve
Dkalim for his whole life. He laid down on the ground
literally bellowing in tears for a couple of minutes before
he let us carry him away. The two others were just escorted
walking to the bus on their feet. I was touched by his
grief, but later it turned out he was really an outsider
infiltrating the Gaza strip, like several thousands of
others. I'm not trying to convince you with any kind of
opinion, just sharing my experiences.

Eventually that family left too. I think we had to carry the
young girl, not sure, anyways she did scream like hell on
her way out. Hysterical screams occasionally recurred
through the evacuation of Neve Dkalim, as well as the next
settlements.



We then proceeded to our last house for the day. It belonged
to a family of American immigrants with plenty of infants,
among which a cute 3 year old blonde boy. The boy looked
quite joyful as he asked us to refuse and go away etc. I
expected trouble, especially as that fanatic father kept
referring to the neighbouring house, where an Auschwitz
survivor lived. The captain escorting our commander took it
quite hard, as he's a funny emotional person who was very
much against this disengagement and empathic to their pain.
Our commander asked some other captain to take his place,
then the father insisted he'd be allowed to keep working on
that captain to make him refuse. Apparently making us
refuse, even just a single one of us, was one thing many
settlers were eagerly trying to achieve, even through the
final moments of their eviction. It had a clear practical
reason, as the refusal of one might lead to additional
refusals, jamming the whole operation. I think it had a
psychological reason as well, as the settlers had their
homes to lose and nothing to gain, and so refusals were
their source of achievement. However no refusals occurred,
to their growing frustration. Many rabbis told them there
will be no disengagement as a miracle will happen, if only
they keep their faith. This only made their mental crisis
worse.

On the contrary to my expectations, the family started
taking its suitcases out pretty quickly. Then it turned out
there are no vacant buses to carry them out. The speeded up
eviction, and especially the settlement reached with the
local yeshiva [6] for their quiet departure, exhausted all
available buses, including those that brought us in. It
wasn't wise to get the little infants of this family on the
same bus with yeshiva students, and so their situation
turned problematic. Now they begged us to get them out today
as they're all packed and not organized to stay overnight.
Eventually they were evacuated, don't remember how.

With no buses at hand evacuation was halted. We had supper
in a kindergarten and napped waiting for further
instructions. One American woman with impassioned eyes came
to talk us into refusal, and some of my pals still felt like
arguing with her. Then another young woman told us about her
feelings. At this stage one of my pals asked her to leave as
we're fed up with the ongoing preachings lasting all day
long since last night. We really were, I omitted that part
since it recurred so often. Almost any civilian we saw had
something to tell us. She started crying, telling us that's
what hurts her the most. Eventually she left.
After 8PM we heard a remote explosion, that later turned out
to be a suicide bomber's belt caught in a nearby friendly
Bedouin settlement. So I had to call home again,
cumulatively I think I spoke with my family for more than an
hour that day.

I think it was after 10PM when we were suddenly woken up and
hurried to some other place, told to expect heavy resistance
from hundreds of furious protesters. We weren't really awake
as we marched, hearing terrible screams in the distance.
There were hundreds of crazy girls yelling there.
They called us murderers, nazis, you name it. I don't recall
doing anything, maybe because there were no buses, I wasn't
really awake. After a few minutes we pulled back to our
kindergarten, partly shocked and partly just sleeping.
Sometime later we marched back to the industrial zone to
catch some decent sleep.

Then Norah (the jeep woman) sent me an SMS wishing I'm well
and coping. So I called her right back and we talked for the
first time. She turned out to be a new immigrant from Sweden
and sounded real sweet and all, which made me cheerful. Then
I had a quick cold shower with a hose, finally fulfilling
the entire homeless experience by the age of 23 - sleeping
on the street and showering with a hose in the backyard of a
dark industrial building. It was mentally purifying, as well
as a relief for the jock itch [7]. Thus in the end of
a long, terrible day, I was happy.

On Thursday August 18th at about 5AM (I think) we woke up,
got ready and quickly marched to one of the synagogues in
Neve Dkalim. Plenty of outsiders were sleeping inside, and
the idea was to surround them and catch 20-30 of them when
they try to break out, thus making our life easier later on.
It worked. I was carrying the stretcher again. Then we had
breakfast and started another evacuation day. Eggs from last
night's protest were smeared on the sidewalk.

We stayed in the shade as our commanders began negotiations.
All in all this mission mainly fell on their shoulders, as
they had to do all the negotiations, as well as taking care
of us. We began with three adjacent families, Levi, Schwartz
and Kluger. The Levi family [8] left quietly, not saying
anything against the soldiers nor asking them to refuse.
Moreover, when one of the kids (or maybe a neighbour) asked
the soldiers to refuse, the mother told him he's wrong and
the soldiers shouldn't refuse. They just wept and left, one
of the kids filling an empty waterbottle with sand from
their yard, as visible in the picture. I was called to help
carry one of their backpacks. I'm probably somewhere beyond
the right edge of the frame. Some 3-4 photographers were
there to capture their grief, but they made no shows to the
cameras. On the way back I was touched by the sight of the
elder son of this family, a paramedic, walking and weeping.

Then came the Schwartz family. You see, the army created a
big database with the full data on each and every family in
these settlements. The negotiation teams were trained to
memorize the names and details of all family members,
details that were verified in the days before forced
evacuation begun. However, since we were supposed to
evacuate Neve Dkalim only a week later, the brigade had all
the data of the wrong settlement. The relevant data laid
someplace else, and with all the haste to have it all
finished before the Palestinian fire hits someone, they kept
entering houses not knowing who's in. It worked well until
we reached the Schwartz family.
In the beginning they seemed to be willing to leave quietly,
until they somehow realized we don't know their names. She
then asked we find out their names, saying they're not
numbers and won't be evicted anonymously. It took fifteen
minutes to find out they're Aharon (Aaron) and Hadassah
Schwartz. Meanwhile Aharon got totally pissed off by us
coming to evacuate him without knowing who he is. He took
out his military kitbag, telling them how he crossed the
Suez canal with Ariel Sharon in the Yom-Kippur war, how he
served in the counter-terrorism elite unit, how he was
decorated three times for his bravery. He took out equipment
from his kitbag and threw it away. It was in my officemate's
direction, which scared the shit out of him considering
Aharon's rage. In this stage the villa was crowded by
cameramen rushing in to the sound of Aharon's cries. I was
reading in the shade that whole time, I'm just telling you
what I was told. But I heard some of their cries alright. As
Aharon was a member of Neve Dkalim's town council, he might
have found the media show useful. Anyways, my regiment
commander popped in to a situation that could have been
resolved by my platoon commander had he known who's inside.

The third family lived upstairs in the same villa. That was
the family of Rabbi Kluger. I heard it was tough going there
too. Wasn't personally involved. So much for Thursday
morning.

As we were having lunch (more sandwiches), the settlers of a
nearby villa systematically demolished it. You could hear
them smashing the windows, then pounding down the walls,
then it was quiet for a while, and then the entire villa
went up in flames. We quickly moved away. You may slap your
forehead, yet it goes to show the levels of distrust and
rage these settlers developed. They didn't trust the
government will really demolish their houses, and they
wouldn't let Arabs settle in their homes or pillage their
goods. As they voted for this prime minister after he said
their settlements' status is the same as Tel Aviv's, only to
wipe them off the map later, they no longer trust a word he
says. Alienation towards the state that turned its back on
them was a motif.

Then things got out of control for another company, and we
were called in to help. A family whose son died as a fighter
has agreed to leave, with his infantry regiment helping them
pack up. Then outsiders torched the opposite empty villa and
negotiations exploded. Hundreds of protesters gathered
around, some teenagers entrenching themselves on the roof
[9-11]. We had to guard the wheels of a bus while the rest
were, erm, supposed to do something. Which they didn't. I
mean, the house was surrounded, and it was hot like hell,
and smoke everywhere, and hooligans all over, and we're just
standing there doing nothing. The asbestos roof of the
burning villa crackled, I hoped Kleenex was good enough
against asbestosis, the infantry fighters neutrally smoked,
photographers kept taking pictures, and so on.
We trained to first capture whoever roams the streets, then
proceed evacuation house by house. This was never done in
practice, for a good reason. You don't want a kid's last
memory of his old home to be getting caught like a stray dog
at some street corner, then spending all day in a bus with
strangers while his family is worried sick. And since you
couldn't tell an outsider from a local resident (unless they
carry their distinctive big backpacks), we generally ignored
whoever didn't physically interrupt us. Insulting us doesn't
count as interruption. However, when you have to deal with
an entrenchment situation, first thing you do is isolate the
scene in order to contain it. But then again, the other
company was in charge, and their commander is an asshole. So
We were just scarecrows there.

After about an hour of refreshing asbestos inhalation we
were replaced. Then we moved on to the doctor's home. He's
the doctor of the Gaza strip settlements, who personally
saved the lives of hundreds and determined 137 deaths, or so
we were told. Apparently there were some forty girls as well
as plenty of boys, on top of his big family, filling his big
villa to its roof. If all that wasn't enough, a crew of
Channel 2 television was waiting inside to film us breaking
in. A gas balloon laid outside attached to a fake device. We
knew it was fake because we ignored it, and we surely
wouldn't ignore a live explosive device attached to a gas
balloon, or would we? We ignored it, and it ignored us back,
which was good enough. My small group stood by one of the
side exits, with orders to let girls come out but keep the
boys in. I couldn't figure out why (hell, let them all break
out), and anyways they didn't come out. So we had plenty of
time to sit and wait while nearby girls tried to make us
refuse.

Several colonels came to negotiate, including the doctor's
elder son, who was heard by my friends timing our entrance
with the appropriate news edition. Then the girls' monologue
turned into a conversation. The funny captain who was
targeted the day before gave them a demagogic speech that
brought tears to my eyes and silenced them for several good
seconds. He told them how he's a right winger who opposed
the disengagement. How he prefers he'll be doing this filthy
job and not the left wingers (like me :) who suggested
leaving them to the Palestinians. How he doesn't care to sit
in jail but he knows if we refuse then all them leftists
will refuse to keep guarding them. That our hearts are torn
by their insults, that we're not robots like they call us,
etc. etc. It was really a good five minutes speech which
made us feel better, if nothing else. I also enjoyed
clearing my belly on them for a while.

Eventually the front door was crashed open and my company
commander walked in to negotiate. It took hours to convince
them out, the doctor giving back the memento medal he was
given when Neve Dkalim was established. In the meantime my
platoon commander quickly realized some outsiders were gonna
burn down the neighbouring villa, so he sent a team to catch
them and carry them over to the bus. If only there were such
commanders in that other company, I wouldn't be
asbestosisized.

The buses bottleneck lead to the wise decision to allow
settlers to leave with their own private cars. Initially
this was forbidden to ease traffic and contain protesters,
and permitting it made things easier to us all. In
particular, the doctor's family was first lead to the bus,
then went back in to make some more departure arrangements
and farewell ceremonies etc., then left in their private
cars. The youngsters on the roof agreed to go down to the
attic, still self-handcuffed. The handcuffs were cut and
they were safely carried down one at a time. By this time I
was reassigned from guarding the side door to guarding the
front door. We didn't really had to keep anyone specific in
or out, so we just tiredly sat on the porch balustrade
facing the door. Then one of the doctor's daughters, a nice
girl about our age, came to us and angrily asked "Is it
pleasant for you here on our porch? Do you like the breeze?
It's nice, ha? You're accomplices to this crime!". I used
this monologue often hereafter, maybe as a trauma symptom,
probably as a joke.

The doctor's house affair was over sometime after 9PM after
seven long hours. We thought that was it, as columns of
soldiers were marching out. But then there was one more home
to evict. A family who has rented their upper floor to the
national radio broadcasters. By then Neve Dkalim felt real
strange. Almost all the houses were empty, the few settlers
we encountered just kept on walking without insulting us, it
was unnaturally quiet. Negotiation succeeded and the old
couple went on the bus, then back down for another farewell
gesture, and back up. A full moon rose and I exchanged a
romantic SMS with Norah.

Then I was asked to enter the house. The couple's son
wouldn't leave on his feet. He sat passively on a chair in
the kitchen and we had to carry him to the bus right
outside. He didn't resist as I grabbed his left leg and we
lifted him through these 10 meters. He recognized the guys
who carried him with me, they've done officers course
together. That kinda shook me. By then I thought "well, Neve
Dkalim is over and I didn't have to carry anyone". Not that
I have had anything against it in the first place, it's just
that I was relieved that I didn't do it. Then, after I
thought it's all over, I did. I cried for a few minutes,
sharing my feeling with my pals. Then we slept on the grass
where we were, waiting for a clearance to walk back to the
industrial zone.

We nearly spent that night as well in the industrial zone,
but the right mixture of stubbornness and rudeness brought
us first on some other platoon's bus, then on a bus of our
own. We left a dead town that was very much alive when we
first saw it only two nights ago. A town that we have killed
ourselves, with our very hands. On the way out we saw
similar sights in other settlements. I almost cried again.
Then a long, hot shower back at our tent city. "Home is
where you shower" should be the phrase.

Sound asleep by 4AM, I think I woke up by 8AM, not sure. I
saw the familiar outline of a villa in Neve Dkalim, which
woke me up, only to realize it was the nearby tent I was
seeing. So much for an immediate trauma.

We had a summary conversation at the platoon level, then a
summary speech at the company level, then at the regiment
level, then the brigade commander spoke to our regiment, and
by 2PM our buses left towards Tel Aviv for a shortened
weekend. So shortened we had to report back by Saturday
night. But it was Tu Be'Av [12], and I had Norah in mind.

She woke me up at 8PM, I reached her place by nine thirty,
and we talked at her porch for nearly four splendid hours.
Her parents immigrated to Israel from Russia in the early
Seventies, just like mine. She was born on 1979, and on 1981
they left to Sweden, from which she has returned two years
ago. So while her elder brother is a native Hebrew speaker,
we mostly spoke in English. She studied at some special
computer science program in Uppsala, now working at some
hi-tech firm. Has her own lovely flat in the center of Tel
Aviv not far from the beach. A musical person having so much
in common it felt just right. And her mother died when she
was 13, which fits my long history of dating orphans. I
accordingly promised her your Dave Eggers' books. My only
concern was she might be turned off by my age, which
eventually happened. We only talked, a goodbye hug and I'm
gone. In bed by 2AM.





Qatif 21.8.2005


I woke up by 5AM, probably due to the bad seafood I've had
and not because of any trauma. Norah went off to the
Kinneret (sea of Galilee) with her brother. Soon the weekend
was over. Thanks to logistical mess we only went to sleep by
about 3AM, Norah the hot topic to tell my tent. I think we
woke up before 6AM to make it early to Qatif settlement.
Then again, if you sleep in nighttime, how could you sleep
in daytime?

This time I brought my camera along, so you could see for
yourself the checkpoint at the entrance to the Gaza strip,
the electric fence, the tanks and bulldozers on the way, the
bridge over the Palestinian main road, then the hothouses of
the settlements bloc known as Gush Qatif (Qatif Bloc). Neve
Dkalim was its capital, Qatif is just one of the smaller
agricultural settlements there with ordinarily no more than
60 families.

We got the section of Qatif that was populated by outsiders
- families and youngsters who came to Qatif a few months
earlier, to resist its evacuation. In image 1015 you can see
the hay cubes at the side entrance we've used. They were
saturated with gasoline, and we hurried to get away from
them. However they were never lit. The main entrance was lit
alright, as visible in images 1000-1 and some press photos
[13-15]. When we entered one guy's foot was hit by an egg,
big deal. Except for that Qatif residents were less noisy
than Neve Dkalim's, and when they spoke it sounded trite.

All through the morning a pal of mine and I had to guard
some empty public shelter, to prevent outsiders from
settling in it. Meanwhile our commanders began negotiations.
It was agreed beforehand all the settlers would have a joint
noontime prayer by 1PM, which should be over in 15 minutes,
and then they'd quietly leave. Of course that didn't really
happen. The negotiation teams didn't reach all the houses by
1PM, so some were visited after the prayer.
In the meanwhile I was sent to guard a small empty
clubhouse. It wasn't actually empty, as the previous guard
allowed some kids and their babysitter to enjoy the air
conditioning inside. Some sweet kids came to chat with me.
They told me their families came over a month ago, during
summer vacation. Most families came from various settlements
in the Judea mountains, while others came from towns in
Israel.

There was a televised drama in the evacuation of the main
synagogue of Qatif, but we weren't there. However our
beloved outsiders cooked their own drama. They all gathered
in a local place of Torah study, called their kids inside,
and started praying and crying together. There were no media
around, just their own private cameras to capture them being
carried out. Once again I got the left leg of one young
father, who insisted upon carrying his sweet infant on his
belly as we carried him. It was against procedures, yet one
soldier was assigned to keep the kid fixed to his dad, and
we made it. In between his protestations he gave us
instructions how to get to his parked Subaru. I couldn't
avoid smiling. Once he and his wife were brought to the car,
he went back with his kid to pack up. Then we carried
another young husband to a bus, a good 200 meters away, this
time I got the left hand. He was from Qiryat Arba [16], a
Jewish settlement famous for its exceptional hostility
towards the nearby Arab population in Hebron. On the way
back I took pictures 1025-6. I didn't feel like taking
pictures of people carried, and anyways there was a
ducumentarist in each platoon that was in charge of filming
it all. The couples we evacuated to their private cars came
back to get organized for some twenty minutes. Their kids
seemed happy and relaxed like kids are, as if they didn't
just see their parents carried screaming and crying.

We were somewhat angry at the parents for their hypocrisy
and the surreal homage they paid to scenes they probably saw
on TV a week earlier. In a certain sense, it felt like
they're abusing the genuine tragedy the real residents were
undergoing. In Neve Dkalim we really felt terrible for the
people we tore away from their homes, while in Qatif it felt
like a farce. Anyways this was surely small change compared
to the abuse of holocaust memories.

We stayed in the shade for a while with several cute kids
who were somehow left over by their parents. Then this
stupid bitch [17], also known as their mom, forced her
company upon us. She kept annoying us for a while, until our
commanders arrived and were just as puzzled by her presence.
She is photographed sharing her majestic wisdom with my
regiment commander before vanishing off our lives.
This was Qatif for us, annoyingly hypocritical. While many
officers wept during the evacuation of Neve Dkalim, I don't
recall anyone crying in Qatif or later in Homesh. Surely
those who had to evacuate the actual residents of Qatif
experienced much worse feelings [18-19].

We left Qatif early enough to enjoy a long free evening.
However we also got a good view of its well designed villas
and the beauty of a settlement we wiped out in less than a
day. This time I photographed sights to the north of the
road leading out of the Gaza strip, while the morning photos
cover its southern side.

Norah called that night after a run along the beach to Jaffa
and back. I still remember her sweet voice, you know I'm
sensitive to such things. [...]

On Monday August 22nd I woke up at about 5AM, way too early
for anything but [...] Captured you some early morning
photos of my tent and some annoying chopper, apparently
about to carry our division commander to the north. Which
was our next destination as well.

Yap, this was our last morning in Reim tent town, near the
Gaza strip. No longer will we cough its crushed sand, as
fine as dusting powder. Our division packed up and moved
outside of the Shomron region [20], where we were about to
evacuate the Homesh settlement. Personally I got a leave at
noontime, to attend Ayelet and Shahaf's wedding that
evening.
[...] Of course the wedding went great. Meeting all the gang
and feasting and drinking and dancing etc.





Homesh 23.8.2005


We drove directly from the wedding to our brigade's sleeping
site. The brigade slept on a monument. The border police
[21] monument, to be exact. Imagine a hill with a modernist
steel monument on top. Imagine a small concrete amphitheater
facing the monument and some asphalt in between. Now imagine
2000 people sleeping on top. This is what we saw when we
arrived, roughly around 2AM. Of all the crazy stuff we saw
in this disengagement, this was one of the most surrealist
sights. Then again, there were no showers, so we couldn't
call it home.

Departure was accordingly chaotic. Especially once it was
decided we should bring our helmets to Homesh, as tougher
resistance was expected. Imagine 2000 tired people, each
looking for his kitbag, which is stored in some truck.
Amazingly we made it in a finite time, the wonders of a
totalitarian system.

It was the very first time I saw the Shomron region. It was
surprisingly beautiful. Rocky mountains with lushing green
slopes. Some of the Arab villagers on the way make a living
of charcoal production, and the sight of small circular
mounds made of wood chops then covered by earth was most
picturesque. Unfortunately I left my camera at home, fearing
Homesh settlers will be violent as promised. We passed right
through several Arab settlements, their kids happily waving
at us, me waving back.

Homesh is a small settlement situated on the tallest
mountain around, roughly 650m above sea level. On a clear
day you can see much of the coastal region of Israel as well
as much of its north. However we were there on a hazy day
and could only see plenty of Arab settlements all around us.
We're not sure how many distinct fences we saw surrounding
Homesh, but there were about seven. So much for fertilizing
coexistence.

We were told only 6 families of residents still stayed in
Homesh, reinforced by about 700 outsiders. This time there
were no protests in the streets, just plenty of housesroofs
crowded by protesters. Thus we easily marched through,
dividing the settlements into regimental sections, or
something. It was funny to see how they had boys' roofs and
girls' roofs, to preserve their modesty. There was also a
funny graffiti - "we know what you did this summer". Many
roofs were fortified by barbed wires, and two of them were
mounted by youngsters with mirrors to dazzle us.

The first house we dealt with had a family with two
adolescents, a boy and a girl, on its roof. The boy shouted
and threw plastic sandwich bags filled with ketchup at us.
His sister shouted and kept him loaded. We evaded the
ketchup bags while our commander began negotiations with his
dad. Over time two officers failed to get away on time and
were hit by some ketchup. No big deal. He really talked
crap, nothing worth quoting, so I got back to my book. This
time it was an interesting collection of articles about
democracy and disobedience, stuff written by Martin Luther
King, Ghandi, etc. It seemed appropriate, if not ironic, and
it mixed well with the shady cover I found off his ketchup
bags. Within an hour, I found a video camera pointed at me.
The cameraman asked me to keep reading, and I willingly
adjusted my hat and kept reading with a wise facial
expression and a slight smile. Hurrah, my sweet moments of
fame, I thought, expecting tonight's news edition or
something. However I was later told that man was working on
a documentary film about this disengagement.
There will probably be a zillion disengagement docu films,
my slight smile lost forever in the mists of film archives.
Whatever.

The boy proudly announced he stops throwing ketchup only
because he respects his dad's request. He resumed throwing
within ten minutes. Later our company commander came and
gave an order to bring that boy down handcuffed if he keeps
throwing ketchup. A short funny argument ensued between the
boy and our commander, using his megaphone. The boy thus
stopped throwing for another ten minutes or so. I still
wonder how he made it through on the roof in the heat
apparently without drinking for hours.

Eventually our commander convinced that family to pack up
and get their children off the slated roof. It took them
ages to come out, which hindered the evacuation of other
houses, but it spared us the dangers of going up that bloody
roof. Though they only moved to Homesh three months earlier,
they insisted on going through a lengthy mourning, including
making a tear in their shirts, just like the families in
Neve Dkalim. I carried one of their backpacks. Their son was
carried handcuffed earlier.

There was an unusually high number of girls in Homesh.
Female soldiers were generally a precious commodity among
us, and that day they worked harder than ever. Due to this
asymmetry, no one guaranteed beforehand that girls will only
be evacuated by girls. But this was their first demand in
every agreed evacuation. In the Gaza Strip settlements, such
an agreement generally implied those girls will be escorted
to the bus by two female soldiers, or at most be passively
carried by four female soldiers. In Homesh, they insisted on
their "right" to physically resist their evacuation, and
some of them were real fat. We failed to see how such an
agreement differs from plain disagreement. Sometimes up to
eight female soldiers were required to carry a single
struggling girl. We males just watched and rested. No mud,
no bikinis.

The rudeness at Homesh earned our lack of empathy. I didn't
see any soldier crying there, not even in pictures. Sure it
didn't feel good to march out of an empty settlement again,
but we were glad it was finally about to end. It turned out
the army has exaggerated the precariousness of the settlers
in the Shomron settlements, to spur extremist rabbis into
restraining their followers. Thus no one was shot. Except
for one Arab terrorist who tried to infiltrate Homesh during
its evacuation. We only heard of it in the news.

We were given plenty of lemon popsicles on the exit from
Homesh. We spent about 20 minutes joyfully handing out
popsicles to whoever came out or in - soldiers, reporters,
policemen, whoever. Later we even fed some to a couple of
police horses, who liked the stick as well as the ice. We
spent more than an hour waiting for our bus in the chaotic
exodus from Homesh.
Our convoy was several kilometers long. Once again I waved
back to the Arab kids on the way. At one place there was a
demonstration about a kilometer away from the road, with
dozens of Arabs waving yellow Hezbollah flags. The scenery
was still awesome.

We reached our monument after 8PM. Our regiment commander
gave us a quick speech. Then we were told to report to base
in the morning for equipment return, and scattered home by
some buses. Luckily I got a lift home by the same guy with
whom I went to the wedding. Other regiments stayed overnight
at that shithole.





Aftermath


Wednesday we returned our equipment, my friend and I
splitting home before a speech by our unit commander. On the
way home we had lunch at a Persian restaurant. I tried an ox
tail dish. It was good. We were given Thursday off, told to
report on Sunday for a joint psychological workshop. Norah
was in the annual Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, not
expected home until Friday. I Called her on Thursday but she
didn't call back.

By Saturday afternoon I sent her an SMS saying her silence
hurts more than the disengagement. Which was quite right, I
was more concerned with her disappearance than with the
memories of them settlers. She quickly SMSed back that she's
sorry, she needed some time for herself without the phone
and that she'd call me soon.

Sunday's psychological workshop was quite useful. Each one
said what was toughest for him and we expressed many
feelings that weren't well formulated inside. I ran home
again before a speech by the head of our directorate.

Norah called and everything sounded great again. Then some
twenty minutes later she sent me an SMS. She wrote it's a
problematic situation, her being nearly 27, wanting kids and
grown up stuff. She wrote she feels too old for me. She
wrote it's hard because I'm so wonderful and amazing and
23.
I was nervous and confused. I SMSed her back this is not
something for an sms, but I wouldn't dare telling her -
After we first met, I felt like this is it. I wanna wash her
dishes for the next century or so. And I'm not kidding (I
really wasn't). Then I sent her another sms saying I'm too
young for her now, but when she's 37 I'll be 34 and that's
tolerable. She didn't answer, and I was stupid enough not to
call instead. Amit called and urged me to send her flowers
right away. I didn't wanna scare her, so I didn't.

Monday morning I sent her an excerpt of Raymond Carver's
poem "The Road" over two SMSes. She SMSed back it's too
painful and asked me to understand. I idiotically SMSed her
back I understand her, admire her honesty (even though I
only appreciated her honesty, admire was just shorter over
sms) and hereby stop bothering her. I added I just hope she
give it a try. Friends I've asked, as well as Ohad, agreed I
shouldn't let her go yet. Meanwhile the psychological
workshop ended and I quietly skipped the regiment's
dismantling ceremony. We were on vacation for the rest of
the week, which was later transformed to a vacation on our
vacation days' expense (mother fuckers!).

First I thought I'll call Norah and leave her a voice
message if she doesn't answer. Then I turned the message
text into a letter, which I left in her mailbox along with
the second fjord image there [22]. I said she should leave
me for who I am and how it fits her, not for our birthdates.
I said a relationship is possible to the most significant
levels. I told her not to judge a book by its edition. I
asked her to sleep over it. That was Tuesday afternoon. By
Thursday afternoon I kinda lost hope. I called Gili and
asked her out for one of two upcoming gigs. She was
interested in the second gig, hopefully we'll be there
tomorrow night. I'm gonna shave my beard for her, after
letting it grow for nearly two months. I wanted to shave it
for the second date with Norah, well tough. I'll photograph
it for you, if I don't forget.

By Friday I kinda agreed with Norah. After all she is nearly
27 and yearning for a wedding ring. It's easy for me to say
hey let's give it a try, yet for her another failed
relationship would only leave her older and possibly less
attractive. Of course with her beauty and charm and wit I
wouldn't be so concerned about staying attractive, but if
she is I'm in no position to judge her. And anyways, this
basic asymmetry would have put an undesired load on our
hypothetical relationship.

On Saturday afternoon she suddenly sent me 3 consecutive
SMSes, pinching my heart. She said she's sorry she didn't
respond earlier. That she thought of it a lot and she thinks
this relationship can't be. That she never thought age would
matter to her, and it only made her understand she asks for
even more. Yada yada and the photo was beautiful. I replied
she's probably right, and that it's
good to know a woman like her exists (it really is), and
that it's hard for me, and that I wish her all the best.
She wished me back good luck and said she feels the same,
good to know I exist. And that was it, Norah stepped out of
my life. Maybe I'll give her a call before Yom Kippur or
something.

[...]


7.9.2006



All personal names, as well as the biographical details
of ''Norah'', were altered for privacy reasons.
[...] naturally marks omitted parts.



Eviction sites on a Google map:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?t=h&om=1&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=100952794262126955562.0004367cde7910d31abd9&ll=31.353197,34.277816&spn=0.006065,0.009967&z=17


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninth%5Fof%5FAv

[2]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53353037

[3]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53316133

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiv%27ah

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sderot

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshiva

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jock%5Fitch

[8] Omitted.

[9]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53403969

[10]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53406694

[11]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53403999

[12] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu%5FB%27Av

[13]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53447719

[14]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53447707

[15]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53447699

[16] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiryat%5FArba

[17] Omitted.

[18]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53447279

[19]
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details%5Fpop.aspx?iid=53446055

[20] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaria

[21] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%5FBorder%5FPolice

[22] http://stage.co.il/Stories/228342







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חוות דעת על היצירה באופן פומבי ויתכן שגם ישירות ליוצר

לשלוח את היצירה למישהו להדפיס את היצירה
היצירה לעיל הנה בדיונית וכל קשר בינה ובין
המציאות הנו מקרי בהחלט. אין צוות האתר ו/או
הנהלת האתר אחראים לנזק, אבדן, אי נוחות, עגמת
נפש וכיו''ב תוצאות, ישירות או עקיפות, שייגרמו
לך או לכל צד שלישי בשל מסרים שיפורסמו
ביצירות, שהנם באחריות היוצר בלבד.
עומד לך?? נו,
אז למה אתה
מחכה??






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בבמה מאז 31/3/07 10:43
האתר מכיל תכנים שיתכנו כבלתי הולמים או בלתי חינוכיים לאנשים מסויימים.
אין הנהלת האתר אחראית לכל נזק העלול להגרם כתוצאה מחשיפה לתכנים אלו.
אחריות זו מוטלת על יוצרי התכנים. הגיל המומלץ לגלישה באתר הינו מעל ל-18.
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