My oldest son came back from Moshav Gadid in Gush Katif yesterday, after having spent the Shabbat with relatives. He marvelled at the courage of the residents there who continue their daily routine in the face of mortar attacks. While he was there a few mortars fell. "The first time around it's scary, but afterwards you get used to it," he said. Over 6000 (!) mortar shells have fallen on the Jewish communitees in the Gaza Strip with an amazingly low rate of injuries or fatalities. My son told me of an incident that happened recently: A shell fell two meters from one of the residents, but it did not explode! That guy said Birkat HaGomel at the first opportunity!
He also told me of a meeting between high ranking army officers and the residents. Basically the officers came to explain to the residents how the army is going to come and throw them out of their houses. From August 15-17, the residents will be given time to pack their possesions and leave. After that, if the residents have not left, the army will come and pack up the residents' belongings and kick the residents out of their houses. Anything attached to the walls of the houses will be left behind.
I feel sorry for the residents who have been abandoned by the Sharon government and the Knesset. I feel sorry for the rest of us here in Israel who will surely suffer from the backwind that this withdrawal under fire will supply the terrorists with. I feel sorry for Jews all over the world who will have to suffer the consequences of this modern day "sin of the spies." I feel sorry for the civilized world, that will pay the price of surrendering to Islamic terror. I feel most sorry, however, for the soldiers and policemen that will carry out the orders to expel and destroy. This is a big aveirah, a very big aveirah. It will be with them forever, in this world and in the next. "I was just following orders" is not an excuse.