Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."



ROUNDUPS OF JEWS
by Rachel Saperstein

July 27, 2005

Our community phone message system is in operation most of the day. Notices of prayer meetings, protest gatherings, organized meetings between soldiers and settlers, births, deaths, controlled explosions, ‘take cover’ because of Arab bombardment, ‘return to normal’ (or what passes for normal here)… all these and more are reported to us.




But most frightening of all was the notification last night that police and soldiers were scouring the Gush Katif communities to round up Jews who are labeled illegals – those who entered without permission, or stayed beyond the time permitted on their permits.

“The police have no search warrants” the voice on the phone from the Local Council tells us, “don’t let them into your home.”

Each day the rules become stricter, the decrees more draconian, the police more brutal.

Today we were told that personal friends are no longer allowed into Gush Katif. Only close relatives – a child, a parent, a sibling – will be permitted to visit. Residents entering or leaving Gush Katif must show identification at four different checkpoints. Non-compliance, or compliance not speedy enough to suit the police, is treated brutally.

My friend U., a 57-year-old grandmother, refused to show her ID and was dragged from her car by four policemen and beaten, then arrested and charged with trying to run them down with her car. Allowed to return home hours later, covered in bruises, she sat and wept. In two weeks she will be subjected to the sight of her 15-year-old son’s remains being disinterred from the Katif cemetery.

Mr. K. was in the act of showing his ID when a policeman demanded he turn off the motor of his vehicle. Mr. K asked to keep it running so the air conditioner could protect his small children from the intense heat. Mr. K was dragged from the vehicle and arrested for non-compliance with a police order. His children were returned to their mother. He is under house arrest at the home of a relative in Beersheba. His right to return home has been nullified.

Teenagers, both residents and visitors, are routinely beaten. The fear of a beating is used as a deterrent to keep people out of the ghetto called Gush Katif.

The government’s heavy hand is experienced over and over. Sharon’s private police force, the Nachshon Brigade of the Israel Police, trained in ‘following orders’ practiced their skills as headbreakers arresting foreign workers. Cleansed of all feelings these uniformed thugs will be leading the forces mercilessly expelling us from our homes.

In three weeks our health clinic will close down.

In three weeks the sole bank will close down.

In three weeks postal service will end.

The government has sporadically shut down our telephone and internet service. Our electricity and water will follow. We are already filling empty cola and juice containers with water for that day.

Sharon’s private army and police are sweeping down on us. We are to be separated, sterilized and broken at all cost.

This roundup of Jews is the first step in the eviction of Jews from Jewish Gaza and northern Samaria, to be followed by the eviction of Jews from all of Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, east Jerusalem. To be followed by even worse…

Yet we keep our spirit of humanity alive. We smile at one another. We smile though the shelves in our stores are increasingly bare. We do our laundry, change the sheets, cut the grass. We listen to Torah lectures. Thus we keep our humanity and sanity.

Where are you, my fellow Jews? Where are you, my Christian friends? Where are your protests as democracy is destroyed in our holy land of Israel?