Friday, February 24, 2006

Update to yesterday's post

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Gaza evacuees are totally "fed up" with the unresponsiveness of the government to their needs, and are now planning to create "total chaos" - blocking roads, taking their kids out of school, etc. - as a method of protest until the government wakes up and starts fulfilling their promises.

I'm actually on the side of the evacuees on this one. The government, the media, and most Israelis have completely ignored the follow-up after the Gaza evacuation, and these people have real problems and need real help. We put them into this situation (mostly), and it's our responsibility to help them get out. But hardly anyone is doing anything! I can't blame them for trying something more drastic. A wake-up call is in order.

Unfortunately, even if this "total chaos" tactic works, and gets them back to a more responsive negotiating table, it will do very little to improve their image in general Israeli society. No one likes to think that they and their government is responsible for putting otherwise upstanding citizens (mostly) into a bad spot, and it's much easier to demonize them and call them crazy zealots than it is to try to work out a hard situation.

I don't blame them for wanting to block roads again, etc, but it's possible that all it will do is make more leftists sit around their porches talking about the "crazy settlers."

I'm also worried about possible physical and emotional fallout. Before the disengagement, I saw right-wing teenagers involved in very scary protest maneuvers involving fire and traffic. Fire and traffic do not mix. And taking kids out of school can't be great for them, especially if they are already suffering from post-traumatic stress or depression.


I've been meaning to note, also, that for left-wingers who support an evacuation from the West Bank, the government's unresponsiveness to the Gaza evacuees is a monumental obstacle toward further withdrawals. If I lived in a West Bank settlement, and the government promised me compensation and a social worker and a chance to rebuild my community somewhere else in exchange for leaving, I'd take one look at all the Gaza residents who are now living in hotels, whose elementary-school children are wetting their beds every night, and who don't even know where to start looking for jobs because they are still in limbo, and I'd say "yeah, right. Lying scumbags."

Meaning, if you think that settlers are crazy zealots, and want them all out of the West Bank, it's still very much in your political best interests to treat the Gaza evacuees very, very nicely. And that has not been happening.


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