Received from my sister in Israel (she was in the US over the Summer):
Well, Since I have come back to Israel I have been completely overwhelmed by the situation here. The news in America presented the disengagement in a somewhat positive way- of one can say that- in that the picture I understood of the disnegagement was of soldiers crying and hugging the people of Gush Katif. I was horrified that it happened, but happy that there was no bloodshed and that it was so “humanely done” with relative good will on both sides (to the soldiers- not the government).
However, after talking to various frineds who had been there I began to understand quite a different story. Most soldiers were not sympathetic in the slightest. They had been trained by the government how to turn a deaf ear to the cries of the people. They were literally trained how to “look through” people as they were talking to them. One word which I have continuously heard to describe them was”robots”. No feeling whatsoever, simply performing their duties of destroying homes and communities.
I also heard some stories which shocked me to no end. Some soldiers and more often policemen got every excited about their work and went about it quite roughly. My friend saw six soldiers beat up a fifteen year old girl (who was hospitalised for many broken bones but thankfully survived), and the soldiers tear a ten month old baby from it’s mothers arms, breaking the baby’s arm bones. The stories go on and on and just writing them makes me sick.
This is not to say of course that every soldier did such. There were of course soldiers who had a hard time at it or quit. However, the vast majority by far were either “robots” or even cruel. The soldiers biggest threat to someone who didn’t comply was to call over the special police force who had beencreated just for this occasion- a police force given new black uniforms and known for their brutality.
Of course the cruelty did not stop there. The government made no plans to help these people. Many people are jobless, and denied the ability to remain unified as a community after various requests(which every social worker and psychologist explains as the best way to help people deal with being uprooted). Some people preserved their belongings but many people’s belongings were stolen or ruined in the ill protected containers. People have not been given compensation and many refuse to sign because they would only receive money by agreeing to conditions unacceptable to them.
There are no words to describe what went on and what still goes on. The government is corrupt and horrible. We must work hard somehow to change the government and situation here. I think a feeling that persists here is shock and not knowing where to go from here. Still, I am constantly amazed at the endurance and strength of people. We are and must keep moving forward. Hopefully with G-ds help we will be able to understand why this tragedy had to happen and what we must do.