Photo: AFP
It could have been worse, says Ofer Shelah
Photo: AFP

Severe, but not catastrophic

What happened in Kfar Darom still far from extreme scenarios

The events in Kfar Darom serve to highlight how relatively violence-free was the process of evacuating Gaza Strip settlements. What happened on the synagogue’s roof in the community was something many security officials expected throughout the Strip, and very remote from the “extreme scenarios” discussed in depth earlier.


It will suffice to go back and read the newspapers of recent weeks in order to recall the possible threats. The events that did happen are indeed severe and deserve a response, but are far from the predicted catastrophes.


However, it will be interesting to see whether the police chief will be true to his word and those who poured oil and acid on police officers will indeed be detained and brought to justice – they, and those who incited them.


In the few other locations where real violence took place, for example, the incident where senior army Commander Gershon HaCohen was assaulted in Neve Dekalim’s “Torat Ha’haim” yeshiva, the system eventually refrained from bringing to justice those who crossed the red line.


The police, whose conduct up to this point is laudable, must insist this does not happen with the Kfar Darom rioters.


The latest events also highlight the crucial role played by the local settler leadership, not only when it comes to the settlers but also the uninvited guests who infiltrated Gaza.


In Neve Dekalim, the leaders were responsible for the synagogue gathering ending peacefully, while in Kfar Darom it was the leaders who fanned the flames of resistance instead of attempting to calm them down.


Those leaders likely counted on the longtime Israeli tradition of the ultra-Orthodox, for example, and there too very few are brought to justice, while the leaders escape unharmed.


Army’s wise decision


The evacuation of the Gaza Strip has almost been completed. The only whole community still left standing is the settlement of Netzarim. It is still unclear whether previous agreements reached there would hold, but there will likely be no violence.


As the evacuation progresses, we discover that the civilian system, as opposed to the army and police, has not fully prepared for the fact that most residents did not plan to leave the Strip until the bitter end.


In the coming days, the media will report many stories of evacuees who do not have a genuine solution. The reasoning “you refused to talk o us” would not spare the system criticism in the face of eight-member families looking for a reasonable place to sleep in.


And speaking of reasoning, one of the big successes of the evacuation operation was the IDF Spokesperson’s Office’s decision to open the pullout to the media.


It was clear the media would focus on the touching story of children being uprooted from their homes and the incomprehensible crisis an entire public is facing. However, the army decided it had nothing to hide.


It wasn’t an easy decision, and it is doubtful whether similar organizations in other countries would have done the same.


However, the decision did end up paying big dividends: The journalists feel they see everything, and a large part of what they saw was the soldiers’ exemplary conduct.


Yet again it was proven that openness wins.


פרסום ראשון: 08.19.05, 07:47
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