[Orig. Middle English burnt offering; from the Greek "holokaustos", burnt whole, (from "kaiein", to burn)].
2. Disengagement, (noun): The formal term for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's proposal to dismantle 25 of the almost 150 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
[Orig. Hebrew “hitnatkut”, lit. unhooking oneself, disconnecting oneself].
[Orig. Yiddish “khutspe” unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity; from Mish. Heb. הטחה, to be insolent. Photo - A Jewish settler boy wears a Star of David badge as he plays with friends during a demonstration against Israel's plan to remove the settlers from Gaza, at the Jewish part of Gaza Strip; December 21, 2004. The usage of the Star of David badges, part of the settler's campaign, drew accusations they were desecrating memories of the Holocaust and bent on dividing Israeli society. REUTERS/Nir Elias ].
And there's more: according to former Israeli Foreign Minister and Defense Minister Moshe Arens, the proposed disengagement from Gaza is also analogous to the internment of Japanese-Americans in the United States during World War II! I can’t imagine what the next apocalyptic installment in this pantomime is going to be. Maybe the “Transfer Tsunami”?
Amidst all this tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth, one might almost forget that the proposed disengagement is actually the repatriation to their own country of fewer than 10,000 of the 400,000 illegal Jewish settlers cynically and deliberately planted on land that does not belong to Israel, in defiance of international law and with the intention of frustrating forever the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
One could also forget that the suffering settlers, now being offered compensation of $750,000 per family, have already enjoyed for the past 35 years subsidized housing, significant tax incentives and mortgage relief from successive Israeli governments, who have sunk about $100 billion into the settlement enterprise, with the goal of illegally annexing the Occupied Territories and finally denying the Palestinians self-determination and nationhood. And that the land those settlers live on has been stolen – and continues to be stolen, most recently in East Jerusalem and in Jayyous - from Palestinians who have had their homes, land and livelihoods taken away, and have been left to live in squalid refugee camps on the goodwill of relief agencies, for no better reason than their failure to be Jewish.
In other words, one could almost forget who are the real victims here.
Before we take a final breath and disappear forever under this tidal wave of self-pity, a trio of articles from Israeli journalist Gideon Levy reminds us that there are people far more deserving of our sympathy. Namely, those thousands of Palestinians who for three decades have been robbed of their land, threatened, shot and beaten to death (Warning: graphic image) by members of the same settler movement that shamelessly flaunts its Judenstern-clad children to lay claim to our sympathy now.
-- [T]he main reason the settlers do not deserve compassion is the immorality and the wickedness that are inherent in their deeds. This refers not just to the minority among them, who abused the Palestinians and treated them with violence and cruelty. This refers to all the settlers...
Every morning, as they leave their homes, they see tens of thousands of imprisoned Palestinians mired in mud, making their way under the blazing sun, stuck at checkpoints or locked behind iron gates, while the settlers travel with lordly freedom on their roads. From the windows of their homes, they see the women in labor, the elderly and the sick, and the children plodding across fields, trying to get to school or the hospital, and they know that they are the cause of the situation. They see farmers whose olive groves were plundered in order to build another road for them, and providers whose places of work were demolished to expand another settlement. The settlers have no problem living with this reality. None of them cries out in protest, no one's conscience torments him. Where were they when thousands of Palestinians were evacuated from their homes and their land without any compensation?
-- There is not and never has been in the history of the state such a destructive and immoral enterprise as the settlement enterprise. From the start it was established to undermine any and every chance for a peace agreement and to erect a defensive barrier against any just solution. It was born out of territorial greed and continued to criminally disinherit the Palestinians.
The settlers settled on land they had stolen, or which was stolen for them; the harm inherent in their actions not only did not trouble them, but some even went out of their way to hurt their neighbors - and so there is no moral basis for compensating them. Now there is a possibility, for the first time, that a tiny part of this hapless enterprise will come to an end. Shockingly late in the day, we must now hold them to account for the blood they shed in vain. Now is the time to say to them - you extorted enough, you cost us too much, you deserve nothing more.
On one side, you have a minority that lives in affluent communities and dictates the life of the majority around it by means of military force that protects it and maintains total separation on the ground. On the other side, across from the terrifying watchtowers that encircle the two settlements, is the Khan Yunis refugee camp, with streets of sand and mud, a place most Israelis never see… In the muddy alleys, terrified children pick at the new ruins. Every rainfall turns the camp into a vast swamp, and with the razed houses, the place looks like a disaster zone. Much of the residents' suffering is due to the existence of the settlements, which choke them from the west and dispossess them of their land…
Every family here carries the memory of a different life, on the streets of Majdal and in the fields of Isdad, in the groves of Kastina and the bountiful lands of Faluja - 45 towns and villages in the area north of the Gaza Strip that were destroyed and lost to them. Everyone whose house is now being demolished under the tracks of the IDF bulldozers is a child of families who once experienced similar destruction. … Few ask what sin these people have committed; the only desire of most of them is to live in humane conditions at long last…
As the settlers brandish "moral considerations" against "the evacuation of Jews from their land," we must remember what life in Khan Yunis is like, whose land this is, who the real victim is and how all this suffering settled on the local population here.