Haaretz: Just Say You’re Sorry
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Haaretz: Just Say You’re Sorry

Associate Editor

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Before Israel apologizes to anyone for killing “civilians” (a “civilian” is any terrorist out of uniform), Israel ought to apologize for their unilateral disengagement from Gaza and the broken lives that disengagement has wrought. Too many Jews transferred out of Gaza have gotten less humanitarian aid from the Israeli government than have the criminals who’ve established a terrorist base on the site of old shuls and Jewish homes. Here’s an excellent piece in Haaretz by Nadav Shragai on the Gaza disengagement, seen in the rear view mirror of the current disaster. For those who can’t access the link, the complete text follows:

Haaretz (Jan. 20, 2009)

Just say you’re sorry

By Nadav Shragai

Now, after the war and just before the election whirlwind sucks in our politicians once again, it would be appropriate for many of them to go out of their way and visit the mobile-home sites where those uprooted from Gush Katif live. This way they can tell them one small thing: I’m sorry.

Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert, Shaul Mofaz and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israel Defense Forces and the police should do this – they, their agents and everyone else who initiated, implemented and aided in using force to uproot 10,000 people from their homes in Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, maliciously and without any real purpose. Everyone who saw some good in the evil of the disengagement and evil in the good of Gush Katif has turned light into darkness and darkness into light. At the very least, they are obligated to make this small apology.

This includes the judges of the High Court of Justice who did not even bother to visit Gush Katif and made due with defense experts acting on behalf of the state “because that is the position of the court since it was founded.” The justices who ruled as they did because they automatically assumed that such a plan “improves the security situation” because “the evacuation reduces the desire of the Palestinians to harm the Israeli population.” It would be appropriate for the honorable justices to take a vacation day as an act of forgiveness and go down south for a close-up look at the results of their decisions.

This also includes the media, which provided a challenge for Ariel Sharon and allowed him to turn a prosperous agricultural land, a world full of communities, synagogues, yeshivas and magnificent educational institutions into piles of rubble. Also the heads of the IDF and Shin Bet security service who never spoke in public what they whispered in the backrooms, and the soldiers and policemen who dragged the pioneers of Kfar Darom and Neveh Dekalim from their houses while raining blows on the demonstrators who understood what would come.

The apology must also include everyone who painted those who warned that the rockets from Gaza would reach Sderot, Ashdod and Be’er Sheva as delusional and opponents of peace. Everyone who promised that they would “give it to them” after the first Qassam, but in the end cried about the moral and international constraints that prevented them from doing so, and for years abandoned the south. It must include those who took the name of democracy in vain and aided Sharon in deceiving Likud members and breaking his promises to honor Likud’s decisions once it became clear to Sharon that the party’s members did not agree with him.

You, too, who paid almost no attention to the hundreds of thousands who tried to stop the evil, who paid no attention to those who internalized the lessons of Oslo and warned that we should not give them land and guns again. You who paid no attention to those who warned of the Hamastan state, foresaw exactly the trajectories of the rockets, and understood that this was something we gave away for free, a further disintegration of our power of deterrence and an adrenaline shot for terror.

Now rise and ask for forgiveness from those who paid the highest price, with their bodies, souls and property for your close-mindedness, arrogance and wickedness. Ask for forgiveness from the Gush Katif expellees, the noble souls who did not steal land from anyone, who made the empty dunes bloom as ambassadors of the State of Israel and who turned into the south’s security buffer and absorbed over 6,000 Qassams and mortar shells with their bodies and belongings in the last years of Gush Katif.

Ask for forgiveness from those who swore to “win with love” – who believed and sowed until the very last minute; from those who did not raise a hand against the soldiers. Apologize to those who continued to enlist in the IDF and pay the ultimate price even after they were expelled from their houses, because they understood that the state – the national homeland of the Jewish people, even within limited borders – is still bigger than any mistaken and confused government.

There is no way to know if they will forgive you, but you at least need to ask.

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