Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ofakim on my mind

I'm fascinated by the drama that will play out tonight.

Last night, between 25,000 and 50,000 (depending on whom you ask) people rallied in Sderot against the disengagement. If you look on a map, Sderot is sort of just to the north-east of Gaza.

Many of those people then travelled to Ofakim, more directly to the east of Gaza, and camped there last night. A friend who went to the rally with her family, and whose husband plans to return to Ofakim tonight, told me that a lot of people are sort of coming in and out of the Ofakim group, balancing their protest activities with other responsibilities like work and family, while maintaining a steady stream of activity.

Tonight, the plan is for thousands of people to rally in Ofakim at 6:30 pm and then march to Gaza in an attempt to infiltrate the closed military zone. Their goal is to flood the Jewish settlements there with so many people that evacuating them in less than 2 weeks will become impossible.

The police and army, of course, have vowed not to allow anyone to infiltrate.

But after the protest 2 weeks ago at Kfar Maimon, the IDF admitted that it cannot "hermetically seal" the Gaza Strip.

So the big question for tonight is: Will the protesters get in? How many? Will there be fighting?

Thought for the day: If the Israeli security forces fail tonight in controlling the law-defying efforts of relatively mainstream, self-avowedly non-violent right-wing protesters . . . then how much weight will our complaints carry, when we blame the PA for not controlling the terrorists?

I am not equating right-wing protesters to terrorists, God forbid! I'm saying that if Israel can't even uphold its own laws against the forces of civil disobedience, then it won't mean much when we hold the PA responsible for not controlling terrorists, who presumably are much more driven to carry out their plans. Terrorists, for example, don't hold meetings with the police to work out agreements ahead of time about how many people will be involved in their schemes or the routes of their travels, as the organizers of this week's anti-disengagement protests did.

On the other hand . . . . maybe this goes to show why civil disobedience works better than terrorism. A normal goverment can and should be much harder pressed to take violent action against peaceful, though law-breaking, protesters. One could reasonably expect the PA to wield a much stronger hand against murderers than the Israeli government is against people attempting to sneak into Gush Katif and pitch tents in solidarity with their countrymen.

On the other hand . . . they are breaking the law, in a stated attempt to thwart a government action for which the entire world is waiting.

Things that make you go hm.

No comments:

Post a Comment