Sunday, August 28, 2005
Lies, Evil, and in between
The past 2 weeks have left me exhausted beyond my imagination; mentally, physically, and spiritually. I have seen evil, up close, far more clearly than ever before. While I have dozens of stories I wish to write over the next few days, I want to start with a list of the corruption and evil that I personally witnessed by the Sharon Family's chokehold over the State of Israel, the "Minhelet Sela" expulsion office, and that of ordinary Israelies who are completely devoid of compassion.
1. While the Sharon Family has been sending out press releases to the world press, that "Every Settler has a Solution" - nothing could be farther than the truth. While the "Minhelet Sela", and its head, Yonatan Bassi, have been telling everyone that "the settler's had 6 months to pack, so why are they complaining" -- I would like to understand why there are hardly any real solutions in places for the Gaza refugees. I have been personally hosting a family of 7, who were thrown into a hotel in Northern Israel (Natzrat Elite), with 2 meals a day, and told, "have a nice life."
They were forcebly removed from their home in Neve Dekalim at 2:00 AM, and carrying only 5 small knapsacks were dumped in this hotel. In the morning, there was noone there from "Sela" to help them...none of the leftists that are dancing on the rooftops for the Gaza Expulsion...only religious Jews from the surrouding areas (kibbutz Lavi, kibbutz Beit Rimon and Moreshet) who came to volunteer and help their fellow Jews. The kids were racing around the hotel, having never been in a hotel before, and their parents were trying to keep up with them. A hotel atmosphere is not the place to dump a family of little kids. The main EVIL: Refugees told that after 10 days, the hotel charges come out of their "reperations", (in Jerusalem, they were told that from day 1 the hotel cost are deducted), no one from Sela to talk to, no one from the government to help them, nothing. Sela has the same 6 months to come up with solutions, yet failed miserably.
2. Pitzuim (reparations/compensation). The Government has been lying to the world that each family will receive between 250,000 and 500,000 dollars. I personally saw this on CNN. Well, the family of 7, that lived in Gush Katif for 13 years, with 2 homes (combined into 1), that have lost both their jobs are entitled to a whopping $170,000. Out of this amount comes moving expenses (using only Sela approved movers -- but more on that in a minute), and any "temporary" expenses like the hotel that Sela provided them, or living/housing expenses for the next 2 years...).
3. Extortion. The Sela organization uses only "approved" movers (2 companies - no kickbacks there). The movers who get paid 420 NIS a day to move Gush Katif belongings, usually only get 190 NIS a day to move anyone else in the rest of Israel. Now, lets say you want to move your stuff out of your home in Gush Kaitf -- the movers are more than happy to charge you inflated moving prices, and they kindly give you 30 cardboard boxes. If you need more boxes; no problem! They charge you 1500 NIS for every 10 additional boxes! Pretty impressive? Now, if you manage to get back into Gush Katif, you need to take the bus, so you can't even take your own boxes. Luckily, I was one of the few people in the entire country last week, to get a permit into Gush Katif for 2 vehicles. My kids collected hundreds of cardboard boxes to bring into Gush Katif so that the refugees wouldn't have to pay these insane prices for boxes. The stories are now starting to come out that some who managed to get back to their homes to pack have found thier homes ransacked by the moving companies.
4. Police Evil. Our permits from the Israeli Ministry of Defence enabled us a 1-time permit for 2 cars to drive into Gush Katif within a MoD convoy of trucks, police cars and IDF army trucks. We were given the following restrictions:
a. No orange streamers on our car
b. no bumper stickers in praise of Gush Kaitf
c. No orange clothing or kippot.
d. No signs of any kind, including "Am Yisrael Chai"
e. No Flags of any kind.
f. No leaving the convoy for any reason, or it would forfeit our right to enter Gush Katif permanently.
We were told that failure to comply with any of the above conditions would result in immediate arrest, and that others were already arrested for violating these terms. I scrubbed my van clean of all traces of orange, removed stickers, flags, and the like. Wore a plain grey kippa, and wore my MDA t-shirt.
The convoy left from Ashkelon at a pace of 40 kilometers an hour. After going through 5 police and IDF roadblocks, we approached Kissufim A roadblock. A police officer jumped in front of my van, and started screaming at me to pull out of the convoy. I politely told him that I wasn't allowed to leave the convoy and I showed him my MoD permit into Gaza, my MDA identification and Driver's license. He shouted that he couldn't care less about my permits and that I was leaving the convoy or he would personally "destroy me" -- and he started yelling for other police to surround my car. I said that if we get out of the convoy, then we won't be able to get into Gush katif -- and he cursed back at me, that he couldn't care less. He continued screaming, cursing and yelling at us, pulling out a police baton, threatening to cause me severe bodily harm. The other passengers of my van were horrified by the brutality of the police -- if I would have used a fraction of the language that police spewed at me, I would have been arrested for harrassing an officer. I pulled out of the convoy, jumped out of my van and ran straight for the road. Luckily, an IDF soldier saw me (and recognized that we were from the convoy) and protected me from the brutal police officer, and told him to let us go through. The policeman turned in the other direction to let his wrath out on his next unfortunate victim.
Never in my life, have I personally seen such hatred and vile behaviour from a Jewish policeman; the venomous language and evil wrapped up in the policeman almost landed me in the hospital.
I will continue soon writing about the looting (with permission of Sela) of palm trees, homes, and neighborhoods of Gush Katif, the apathy of Sela and the government, and the cynical use of soldiers to enforce the policy of the Sharon family.
Posted by Jameel @ The Muqata