Gaza Diary: Three Things from Israel's Gaza Pullout

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  • Evacuations Have Been Going Smoothly

    This first day of sometimes-forced evictions wasn't as traumatic as many Israelis expected. There were many more scenes of sobbing settlers and soldiers hugging than of settlers screaming in the soldiers' faces. But there are still some potential trouble spots. Early Thursday morning the army will go into Kfar Darom, an isolated Gaza Strip settlement with a hardline population and many infiltrators, too. The army knows this could be a hard one. So too, Sa-Nur, the most troublesome of the four West Bank settlements due for evacuation. That could be targeted after the weekend, because the army has poured its Evacuation Battalions into Gaza and doesn't have manpower to do Sa-Nur now. Still, the projected end of the disengagement is moving up from September 4 (which already was an advance on the initial four to six week plan) and now might be early next week.

    From TIME Online

    • Update: The Settlers' Lament
    Revisiting the three families from TIME's article as they leave their homes

    • Three Things From Israel's Pullout
    TIME Jerusalem Bureau Chief Matt Rees on the events in Gaza

    • The Settlers' Lament
    As Israel evacuates the Gaza Strip, TIME follows three American-Israeli families who face giving up the lives they have built there. Don't expect all of them to go quietly

    • Over Gaza
    The 'disengagement' battlefield viewed from an Israeli helicopter

    Photos and Graphics

    • Photos: Gaza on the Brink
    • Photos: Israel Divided
    • Photos: Power Struggles
    • Map: The Gaza Pullout

  • The Status of the Pullout Plan

    The Israeli army's nightmare was a single settler with a gun. The worst the settlers managed today was a woman who stabbed a soldier with an IV needle in Morag. It isn't over yet, though, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was at pains to deflect settler resentment from the soldiers and onto himself when he called for them to "hurt him," rather than the soldiers. President Moshe Katsav, who was sitting next to Sharon when he made that comment, immediately jumped in to say that Sharon meant "criticize me," rather than hurt me. Katsav, like the Shin Bet security service, is genuinely concerned that a right-wing Israeli might really try to physically hurt Sharon.

  • The Settler Groups Are Resigned to Leaving

    The settlers and the leaders aren't acknowledging defeat, though they admit that their departure from Gush Katif is increasingly inevitable. One rabbi in Morag said that "our job here is done, but we have a new job to do bringing the people closer to the land elsewhere. With the help of the Holy One, blessed be He, we'll do that. This is what I'm telling my students."