A commenter in this thread over at Little Green Footballs referred a few days ago to "the miserable Gaza Strip." Here's a little story about the supposed hellhole that is Gaza.
ELEI SINAI, Gaza Strip
Talya Eluz walks into her cream-colored sunken living room and takes in the view of sloping sand dunes leading to the shimmering blue Mediterranean Sea and the electric fence that surrounds what she calls paradise.
â€œLook at it â€” itâ€™s like Malibu,â€ Eluz says, holding her month-old daughter. â€œBut people hear Elei Sinai and think of terrorists. They think we live war every day.â€
This â€œGarden of Eden,â€ as Eluz and her neighbors like to call Elei Sinai, is a settlement in the northern Gaza Strip, founded in 1982 by a small group of families evacuated from the Sinai settlement of Yamit when it was destroyed under a peace treaty with Egypt.
That's right. For a fair number of Gaza residents, the anticipated "relocation" won't be their first. And I dare say that for some, it might not even be their second, though it will only be their second at the hands of fellow Jews.
Twenty-three years after the first house was built in Elei Sinai, the talk is again of evacuation. The community is home to 85 families, mostly secular Israelis who do not share the ideological and religious stands of settlers in the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the southern Gaza Strip.
Yes, it's somehow comforting to believe that all of these Jews who are about to get ripped from their homes are wild-eyed, rabid, religious fanatics. Guess again. But here's a hint: even if they were, it still wouldn't be right.
Eluz and her husband finished building their dream home â€” an airy, open-plan, two-story house with floors of beige tile and hardwood, and a hot tub off the master bedroom â€” just four months ago.
Eluz is a homemaker, and her husband works in events promotion for the Israeli branch of the Carlsberg brewing company. They moved here from the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon le Tzion.
They couldnâ€™t afford to build a private home there, but they could afford one here, where a plot of land with a sea view cost them just $13,000.
[ . . . ]
â€œWe are not going to react with violence, but we are doing what we must do quietly, with dialogue,â€ she says.
â€œI built this house with my own hands,â€ says Eluz. â€œI wonâ€™t chain myself to the house, but if I know the house will be given to Palestinians, I will break down all the walls.â€
Here's another story (same article), also from Elei Sinai.
Arik Harpaz leans back on the striped bedspread in the room that once belonged to his daughter, Liron.
He and his wife have not changed a thing since the night the 19-year-old was shot to death a few blocks away, at the edge of Elei Sinai. The white bookshelves still are crammed with novels, cassettes, notebooks. A teddy bear stares down from the desk.
The morning after Lironâ€™s death, Harpaz started looking through her notebooks. To his surprise, he found poem after poem â€” 140 in all. They have been published and some of them put to music by top Israeli singers, and they have been made into a CD.
Harpaz says he cannot imagine leaving the home where Liron and her two sisters grew up â€” or the place where she died.
â€œThe blood of Liron is soaked in this earth, and they want to expel us from here â€” even without an agreement? This disengagement process is very hard for us.â€
On Oct. 2, 2001, during Sukkot, Liron had come home from the army with her new boyfriend. Theyâ€™d gone for a walk around the settlement when they were spotted by two Palestinian teens who opened fire, killing them both.
Harpaz, a volunteer ambulance driver, was among the first called to the scene.
For Harpaz and his family, who have lived in Elei Sinai for 11 years, life is divided into before and after â€œthe disaster.â€
He is haunted by the idea that perhaps relatives of the Palestinians who killed Liron will end up living in the Harpaz home if Israel withdraws from Gaza.
If an evacuation does take place, Harpaz, 49, who works in sales, says he would throw a Molotov cocktail and light the house on fire.
These are only two of many stories that you can find in this article and others. Some have a more religious theme. Others focus on ideology. Some are defiant, others resigned. But all of them focus on a family, a home, a garden and the struggle to make it safe, secure and peaceful.
I've made no secret of the fact that I'm disgusted with Sharon's disengagement plan. I find it shameful, disgraceful, and a betrayal of the first order. I'm also quite certain that it will bring Israel no closer to peace. In fact, it will most likely have the opposite effect. But if, God forbid, it's implemented, don't kid yourself that there's anything "miserable" about the communities that will be destroyed or that the outrage of the people who live in them can be dismissed as the rantings of extremists and losers.
Yes, I realize that all those who elect to live in the disputed territories are on notice that they might one day have to leave. And they should have anticipated that a government headed by a Shimon Peres or an Ehud Barak would happily trade the ground under their feet for a true promise of peace. But in the last election, the Israeli people soundly rejected the notion of unilateral withdrawal. And there is no promise of peace whatsoever.
Once again, Caroline Glick. She's one of the few who seem to have passed on the brownies when they last came around.
So, here we are again, at the dawn of a new peace process which will bring no peace; will legitimize terrorists and the authoritarian regimes that support them; will weaken Israel's democratic institutions while endangering its citizenry; and will engender scorn for America and faith in Israel's eventual destruction in the hearts of millions of people who today waver between support for freedom and support for terror.