Monday, August 22, 2005

Israel's Finest Hour

We've all watched in amazement...

Today, the forced evacuation of thousands of Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip is almost at an end. Only one settlement remains, and most of those who are there to protest and resist the withdrawal are in fact not residents of the settlements in Gaza.

Whether you agree with the pullout or not is not nearly as important as the subtle facts of a much larger truth being played out before our eyes. As all of us who have watched have witnessed, there is one thing to be learned from the events of the last week: the amazing spirit, maturity, peace, and professionalism of both the Israeli security forces, and the Jewish settlers themselves, is second to none on this planet.

The utter lack of violence, with few exceptions, during this extremely emotional situation is an amazing occurrence. While some protesters (again, most of whom were not settlers themselves) threw acid at some troops in an isolated event - that was the exception to their behavior, not the rule.

Jews who believed their land was given to them by God protested and objected with all their might, and many were emotionally broken - and yet they did not turn to violence. Yes, many settlers fought their extradition, but only as far as putting up minor physical resistance would get them. Troops who encountered thousands of near-rioting crowds in an extremely tense and dangerous situation kept their heads and used peaceful and humane crowd control means to evacuate the protesters - even taking time during the confrontation to distribute water to the protesters to protect them from the 100 degree heat. Troops openly wept with settlers - both took time to comfort the other. And yet, in the end, what was agreed upon was done.

At this point, there is no turning back. Most of the settlers' homes have already been demolished - part of the joint Israeli/Palestinian plan. The settlers have nowhere to return to. They must now move on - move forward.

Hopefully someday the world will rejoice in a stable and peaceful Middle East, a place where Jew and Palestinian can live side by side without violence, and will look back on this monumental event as the catalyst for it.

But regardless of the end, the world should always look back on this event as a symbol of the true nature of the Israeli people. A people who this day have lived up to being called God's People.

How many of us would have measured up to this same test?



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