From inside the house next door to Gaza Beach Regional Council Head Avner Shimoni came loud, painful cries Wednesday morning.
A woman screams that the government has ruined her life. Her husband quietly picks up a large hammer and begins to smash everything around him. Doors, walls, everything. Reporters aren’t allowed in, and then from inside there is a call for a medic, one of the daughters in the house has lost consciousness.
In the house next door, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Dan Harel sits with Avner Shimoni. The conversation is personal, private. Closed to reporters. An army spokesman at Southern Command, Major Tal Lev-Ram can’t handle the amount of calls pouring in from the media.
The hottest story in the Mediterranean, but the army doesn’t have much to say in the face of the misery of the residents of Neve Dekalim.
Fifty meters from there, teenage guests of the settlement from Ofra in the West Bank are burning garbage cans. The stench rises up with the thick smoke in the air. Off to the side, young religious high school girls, some of them residents of Neve Dekalim, and some of them their friends from elsewhere, stand crying in front of the policeman and the soldiers.
A woman soldier breaks down and goes off to the side to cry. Another soldier goes over to her to soothe her. “We’ll get through this,” he comforts her. “I can’t do it,” she answers him.
Rabbi and students leave
An older woman comes out of the doorway of a house on the corner, almost running. The house is untouched, no moving container, no sign of packing up. Sub-Commissioner Aharon Franco, head of the first ring of the evacuation plan that includes Neve Dekalim, looks out at her from the corner of his eye.
“Chase him,” she screams, pointing at a twenty year-old nearby leaning on the neighbors moving container and crying. “He’s a Jew.” Franco is silent.
In the Hesder yeshiva of Neve Dekalim, they all brought their guns to the morning prayers. A row of M-16s lined up at the entrance to the yeshiva. Eli Mor, head of security for the Neve Dekalim settlement sits and guards the arms. “Everyone is giving back their guns, before the army comes,” he explains.