This has to be the saddest day I've known. To be here in Eretz Yisrael is like being in some bizarre fiction flick. So many have prayed, protested, traveled to be in or near Gush Katif, marched around the Temple Mount gates, the Old City walls, crying and beseeching HaShem to intervene, to stop this insanity, to end this evil. But the heavens are as brass.

It's the final hour and the heavens are as brass, only scorching sun beating down upon the land, adding to the physical misery of the residents of Gush Katif.

I just got off the phone with Chaya, who has been in the thick of things in N'vei Dekalim for the past two weeks. Yesterday afternoon, she called me sobbing, as people around her began, in resignation, to pack up their most precious belongings. Last night, her voice was empty, hollow, drained from weeping through minchah prayers as the people of N'vei Dekalim took upon themselves the dual weight of submitting to HaShem's sovereign will, whatever comes next, while simultaneously pouring their souls out as water, pleading for G-d's intervention, hanging on to every minute thread of hope they have left after the events of the past two days.

The word was that the troops would move in at midnight to remove the families from their homes. In most of the homes, parents were sobbing as they packed bags of possessions for their children and themselves. In other homes, families were loading their belongings into the huge moving containers sent in by the government to evacuate them. In still other, more militant homes, battle lines were being drawn.

Chaya was at the gate of N'vei Dekalim that morning. For an hour or so, there was a standoff between the residents/visitors and the soldiers/police. Then, standoff gave way to protest, but Chaya tells me that the protest was not a protest that the residents wanted. They had made their plans of non-aggressive resistance at the community meeting and their strategy seemed to make an impact. The protest yesterday morning, which evolved into violence, was initiated by some of the visitors who had come to help, to stand by the residents in a show of solidarity.

Solidarity gave way to independent reaction. Tragically, young people and children were caught in the fray, as were the visiting women whose emotions and reactions had gotten the better of them. Inflamed by the melee, the police began to force their way into the community. Soon they were running, four abreast, encircling the individual moving vans as they pushed through the community streets, in a weird and sickening dishonor guard of black-suited SWAT officers. Resigning themselves to their apparent fate, most of the residents went home to pack.

Cries, sobs and shofar blasts were the voices of the community that afternoon. And still, the heavens seem as brass.

G-d in Heaven, why must these righteous people suffer for the sins and the rebellion of others? Why must evil and a cult of murder be allowed to continue, to increase their appetite for Jewish blood by this massive heroin-like dose of gratification being delivered to them by way of the hearts, homes and back-breaking labors of the residents of Gush Katif?

When I returned home yesterday afternoon, I found a notice amongst my emails calling people to the streets in protest, to major intersections, to the Old City, to the Temple Mount, to the major highways. Pulling my "Jews Don't Expel Jews" T-shirt over my head, I turned about and headed for the main intersections in my neighbourhood. As I walked the length of Emek Rafaim in the German Colony, I was the only speck of orange around. The intersections were devoid of protestors, only cafe-sitters dotted their pristine corners. A few people hissed at me as I walked along, their blue streamers brashly blowing in the wind. One man even laughed. How sick can society get?

Returning home, I called Chaya in N'vei Dekalim to get the latest update. Each time I call, I hold my breath, expecting the promised termination of phone services to the area to have taken place. What does one say to someone in such a place, in such a situation? How does one possibly commiserate? Getting off the phone, I sat down to write, the least I can do to share their pain.

As I sat writing, my summer roommate and her visiting brother arrived. Her brother, a nice young man, inquired if I would like to go to see a live comedian with them that evening. I explained that I really don't feel like humour right now. He looked askance. We talked a bit, then he asked me why it is that I am so upset.

"I just got off the phone with a friend in Gush Katif," I answered.

Looking quizzically towards his older sister, this pleasant 20-something Jewish man from the USA asked, "What's Gush Katif?"

Need any more be said?