Israel's Painful Departure

How do you tell a family who has lived in a home for 20 years that they must now leave? When do you let go of the struggle you have always known? How do you turn your back on a fight you’ve always faced? When there is a struggle always right in front of you, how difficult is it to leave behind?

Israeli female soldiers taking part in the uproot of settlers cry in the southern Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim. Israel has occupied the Gaza Srip for 38 years. (AFP)

“Israeli troops stormed a Gaza Strip synagogue and dragged out screaming Jewish settlers and their supporters on Thursday as Israel’s pullout from the occupied territory shifted into high gear.”

Hundreds of unarmed soldiers and police swept into the main Jewish house of worship in the largest Gaza settlement, Neve Dekalim, to end a two-day standoff with hundreds of ultranationalist youths who had defied orders to leave.


A Jewish settler weeps on the shoulder of an Israeli policeman, as Israeli troops evacuate the Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, in the Gush Katif bloc of settlements, in the southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2005. (AP)

Meanwhile, yesterday…

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal declared on Wednesday that the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank marked the beginning of the end of the Zionist dream in Palestine.

Israeli soldiers weep during the dismantling of a synagogue in the Jewish settlement of Nissanit in the northern Gaza Strip August 15, 2005. (Reuters)

And, as Israel leaves its settlements in Gaza, Hamas builds in strength…

The Palestinian group Hamas, responsible for several bloody attacks on Israel, is engaged in a massive buildup of manpower and weapons and must be dismantled by Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon says.

An Israeli soldier and settler — who are also brother and sister — comfort each other outside the Neve Dekalim settlement. (AFP)

This is just the first step of the Hamas Plan…

Palestinian militant group Hamas said yesterday Israel’s evacuation of Jewish settlements in Gaza was a first step towards the liberation of all occupied land through armed struggle.

Hamas’s top official Khaled Meshaal said the Islamist group would not give up its weapons while Israel continued to occupy land Palestinians want for a state.

“Gaza is the first liberation, then comes the West Bank, then every inch of Palestinian land,” Meshaal told reporters in Beirut. “We are at the beginning of the road and we have not and will not give up our weapons. The battle is not over.”

For Meshaal, speaking in front of a poster reading “Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem”, the evacuation is proof the Palestinians can only win their land and rights by force, not through talks.

Israel continues with the first phase of their Gaza evacuation today.

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