Thursday, July 21, 2005

Column: What's Up Doc?

A 77 year old man who is 150 pounds overweight goes to see his doctor for a checkup.

“Well doc, how do I stand?” asks the man.

“Beats me,” quips the doctor.

That’s a twist on an old joke -- probably one of Henny Youngman’s. It crossed my mind the other day while I was walking up and down the hills and steps of Tzfat in the hot sun asking myself what it must be like to be 5 foot 6, weigh 300 pounds and be 77 years old. Could such a person climb even a few of these steps? How does such a person pull himself out of bed in the morning? Does he need help? How does he put on his shoes? Who ties them for him? How does he make it through the day? From where does his energy come? What does it feel like to be in his body?

Add to that the pressure that Sharon is under day after day and the weight of carrying around what appears to be at least two personalities and three or more potential indictments and tens of thousands of demonstrators and more and more soldiers defecting and pressure from every corner seeking to uproot him from his duplicitous ways and mendacious and misleading “leading,” and one wonders very simply; “How does he stand?”

Not that I am wishing him ill, heaven forbid. I wish him good health – on his farm – ruling over sheep.

One way or another he will be there soon. If, heaven forbid, he succeeds with the expulsion, he will be dumped by the left and his government will fall. Then the only hope that will remain for him will be that his “service” to the “peace process” and the post-Zionist deconstruction of the state through his “disengagement” plan will actually have pleased the left enough to lay off him and not drag him and his sons into court.

On the other hand, if he fails in the expulsion, the left will also dump him. Either way he ends up dictating over sheep.

But will he succeed?

The march that started last night to Gush Katif from Netivot has made it to Kfar Maimon in spite of the police using illegal tactics to prevent busloads of marchers from leaving their respective departure points. In the end the buses went. The government was also set on preventing the marchers from reaching Kfar Maimon. I spoke with someone on the scene there when they were being prevented from reaching the village, where they were to spend the night in tents and be fed. It was not at all clear what was going to happen at that point but later on the forces withdrew and the marchers enjoyed yet another success, reaching their destination.

Tonight, after spending the day out of the hot sun, the march will continue towards Kissufim, near the entrance to Gush Katif. There will very likely be a confrontation there between the marchers and the army/police. The Yesha Council is calling for thousands more to join the tens of thousands already there.

Will the marchers succeed in getting into Gush Katif? Will there be serious violence and mass arrests? Will the army and police use water canon and “the screamer” – a sonic blast weapon that induces nausea and incapacitation? Will they use horses and batons and worse? Will soldiers defect in even greater numbers? Will the world press give the march any fair coverage? Will the cracks in Sharon’s government widen?

These are just some of the questions I am asking myself early this afternoon – knowing full well that by this evening, things will be seriously heating up, even as the day is cooling off. I have pretty bad feelings about what may happen. The media has been preparing the public for and justifying the use of serious force to put down what it is now calling a “rebellion.”

Of course, the rebellion is Sharon’s. It is a rebellion against the will of the people who voted him in to fight terrorism as he promised and not to surrender to it – the platform of the decisively rejected left. It is a rebellion against Judaism and the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. It is a rebellion against the security interests of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

I just received a call from Kfar Maimon. Thousands more people are swelling in. There are an estimated 70,000 people there now and they keep coming. That is up from the estimated 40,000 yesterday. If people keep arriving at this pace the numbers could reach 200,000 or more by this evening. I remember 500,000 in Jerusalem in 1993 demonstrating against the Oslo accords. I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more that that.


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