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.
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 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."