Photo Essay: Civil Disobedience in Kfar Darom

Sunday, the first civil disobedience battle in Gush Katif took place between security forces and Gush Katif supporters in Kfar Darom.

Gush Katif Correspondent Yishai Fleisher , | updated: 3:38 PM

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An eighteen-wheeler in IDF service was attempting to remove a communications caravan from Kfar Darom as part of the phased army evacuation, while residents and guests rushed to the scene to stop the caravan's removal.

The scene began at approximately 2 PM, when youth and yeshiva students stood in front of the truck, blocking its attempt to leave the community with its cargo. Soon, more protesters arrived and the whole group sat down and chanted "Soldier - policeman - refuse your orders", "A Jew does not expel another Jew, "We love the IDF", "Left-right-left, commander, I just simply can't [fullfill orders]", and songs "Am Yisrael Chai [the nations of Israel lives]", "Utzu Eitza Ve'Tufar" [They will scheme against us, but their schemes will be nullified]."
Protest begins with blockage of the truck carrying the IDF communications caravan as part of the dismantling process.

Protesters outnumber soldiers.

Protesters pray in front of the truck.

After about an hour, at 3 PM, a squad of border patrol soldiers moved in between the protestors and the truck, surrounding the vehicle.
Border patrol reinforcements are called in to break up the protest.

At this point, protesters used a megaphone to explain the protest activity. The most powerful speeches came from terror victims.
Ro'i Har-Melech, whose brother was murdered in a terroist attack, chides soldiers not to give Jewish land to his killers.

Chana Bart, a resident of Kfar Darom who is paralyzed from the waist down since being shot by terrorists, spoke from her wheelchair to the soldiers "We love you, you are strong, you are good, but it’s time you fought the real enemies and not terror victims and children. Do you want my house to go to those who did this to me?" After her speech, three soldiers left the scene in tears.
A conscientious objector is hauled away.

Throughout the whole scene, protestors spoke with soldiers and tried to convince them of the Disengagement's folly.
Throughout the protest, citizens approached soldiers, explaining to them why eviction and uprooting are wrong.

The confrontation becomes heated.

By 4 PM, as more protestors arrived, the driver of the rig, Herzl, decided that he had enough. "It's not worth the money for me to see one person hurt even a fingernail" he said. However, as he began reversing the vehicle, the army general in charge of the mission ran up to the chassis and yelled at him. Cell phones rang back and forth between the driver and his superiors to determine his next step, while in the meantime more soldiers came on to the scene.
Herzl, the driver, was willing to back down, but an army general read him the riot act.

At 5 PM, at least 10 protestors parked their cars in front of the truck, ostensibly to block its path indefinitely and protestors were asked by the organizers to leave the roadway. However, to the surprise of the protestors, the soldiers were unfazed by the parked cars. In groups of twenty they pushed the cars out of the way. The truck now rolled forward slowly, completely flanked by soldiers. Some arrests were made at that time.
Some protesters were arrested and shoved on to buses

The media swarm to take photo of arestee.

After the cars are moved, border patrol soldiers line the truck's path.

By 7PM, the truck cleared the gate of Kfar Darom, and was out of sight in moments.
Soldiers surrounded the truck, distancing the protesters from the vehicle.

When asked why people were protesting the dismantling of an army caravan that was not part of the community, Asher Mivtazri, a Kfar Darom leader, said that the action was meant to protest the sharp security deterioration of the past three years. Some people on the scene saw the day's events as a successful showing of resolve and strength on the part of protestors, in that it took many hours and many men to resolve the dismantlement of one lonely caravan. Others wished that more determined methods, like puncturing tires, were employed to stop the truck.
"Don't evict me - Yehuda"

The question of how anti-Disengagement protests should be run is a continuous debate permeated with philosophical questions regarding the nature of the state and its relationship with its citizens. How much force is used depends on how one envisions that relationship. If the state is holy, then protestors cannot risk harming institutions like the army or the government. If however, the state is only a vehicle for settlement of the Land of Israel, then actions contrary to that mission have no mandate and should be stopped. No matter what, people in Gush Katif are keenly aware of the fact the people they're up against are Jews, just like them, and winning in this case, means not just retaining Gush Katif, but living together in a unified society as well.
The dichotomy of the Jewish state.

(Photos: Yishai Fleisher)