Article By Shoshana Vegh

[Comments are welcome at our Dialogue Corner]

Don't Uproot The Living

I lived in Yamit. I was not one of the evacuees who received compensations, but I learned something about the horrible feeling of being uprooted from your land. I moved to that area because my husband served in a nearby airbase. We received an apartment that was owned by the army. We only lived for several months in that town, which was indeed a bright one. We knew in advance that our experience would be short. We moved to the Northern Sinai after the peace treaty was signed with Egypt and we left before the struggles against the evacuation started. I couldn't take the burden of seeing the settlers, the inhabitants of Sadot, Nissanit and other beautiful villages, being uprooted from their land. But the sights haunted us from the television screens. My elder son, who remembered our house, watched the screen and every time he saw the ruined buildings, he cried: "they broke our house".

Indeed, today I think about the settlers, trying to imagine what is going to happen to their lives, and I say to myself: "let's hope it doesn't happen to us". I wish they wouldn't have to experience the uprooting either. How would they be able to look at their children's eyes when they start taking the pictures off the walls and pack their clothes? I don't wish to anyone to feel this feeling. To leave a garden that you tended, to leave the orchards that you planted, to leave your own home.

But here we must point an accusing finger at the rule of law. Yes, the rule of law, which knew that these settlements had no future, not even thirty or ten years ago. It is strange to see today official calls to settle in parts of the land that are destined to be evacuated, whether knowingly or "unknowingly". Yes, a huge notice was published recently in the press, calling Israelis to settle in the Golan Heights. The Golan is officially part of the State, since we annexed it through a strange act of legislation. But if a fair peace treaty is signed with Syria, where will the settlers be thrown? It is strange to see an advertisement for the Golan settlements at this time. Why don't they urge people to settle in the Galilee or the Negev?

The policy of building settlements in these territories is mistaken and it leads us repeatedly to act as an irrational state. If we are forced to experience every twenty years a process of evacuation, whether willingly or unwillingly, as part of agreements of separation, disengagement, or at best, as part of "peace treaties", we are actually getting used to a pattern that is not rational for a sovereign state.

We should not have settled these territories in the first place, if we meant to withdraw from them. We should not have encouraged people to settle in areas that are not ours. It is a waste of all the resources that were invested in developing the infrastructure that will now be destroyed. Why were they not channelled to building settlements in the sovereign area of Israel, according to the armistice lines? Why were they not invested in the Negev and the Galilee?

How they nursed pipe dreams, or turned ideological dreams to capturing of land? The ideological dreams of building our country were charming, but they should have been applied in the proper areas. The system that first builds settlements and then removes them is a sick system, simply sick.

An investigation should be held to explore the policy that surrendered to unlawful dictates. They should investigate why the state has to go through the uprooting of the settlements, executing the plans as a matter of routine. Moreover, if today it is legitimate to uproot settlements beyond the green line, tomorrow it may be justifiable to uproot a neighbourhoods that is too close to the border, and so on and so forth.

At present, when no other alternative exists, I don't think that the insane voices that advocate disobedience or objection to the withdrawal would achieve anything. Surely, they must raise their voices and it is certainly painful to see them lose their land, but the accusing finger should be pointed at the state and not at them. The state that shut its eyes when they relied on all sorts of commands, including the state's own regulations, and settled in a place with no future. The public's representatives misled the citizens and wove for them a dream of deception.

What a pity that we adopt as a state such patterns of destruction and expulsion, instead of constructive models.

For the future's sake, imagine what the country would have looked like, had they settled the outskirts of Beer-Sheva instead of Hebron. Instead of Eley-Sinai, they could have settled our northern coastal plane, and instead of the green hills of Samaria they could have settled in the mountains of the Galilee. Just imagine what could have been avoided.

No more sights of evacuation... No more sights of evacuation...

Shoshana Vegh, 16/June/2005


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