Israeli pullout causes dissension


    When Moran Lavi went home to Israel, she found her people divided.”There are definitely those who support the evacuation and those who don’t,” said Lavi, a senior political science and anthropology major. “There’s no middle ground.”

    Lavi and other TCU students and faculty have differing opinions about the pullout.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the evacuation of 25 Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank in August, after 38 years of occupancy.

    Israel has controlled Gaza, 360 square miles of coastal land situated between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, since the Six-Day War in 1967.

    Sharon originally announced the plan in December 2003, saying it could reinstate the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

    Michael Bou-Nacklie, International Student Association president, whose parents are from Switzerland and Lebanon, said the Israeli pullout was an act of good will by Sharon, but both sides are still wrong.

    “Each side can point fingers,” said Bou-Nacklie, a junior international communications major. “They both need to learn that there are more important things in life than shooting each other.”

    Lavi said she is not a huge supporter of the pullout but sees it as a big step.

    “I’m trying to see both sides,” Lavi said. “We gave them (Palestinians) this, so now maybe we can talk.”

    About 8,500 Jewish settlers had evacuated 21 Gaza settlements and four West Bank settlements as of Aug. 23 – two weeks ahead of schedule.

    Sharon said he would not order any further pullouts in the West Bank without first speaking with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, The Associated Press reported.

    Manochehr Dorraj, professor of political science, said the evacuation was a positive step.

    “It’s a good starting point for both sides,” Dorraj said. “Now other outstanding issues can be tackled and resolved since the major issue that fed the Palestinian issue was land.”

    Blake Williams, a senior political science and history major, said the pullout is a good first step but more can be done to ensure a peaceful future.

    “They need to commit to the withdrawal process as a whole, not just stopping with Gaza,” Williams said.

    The Israeli government offered about $250,000 in compensation to each family.

    Dorraj said although the majority of Israelis were in favor of the evacuation, the problem now is the “extremists” who disagree with Sharon’s disengagement plan.

    Many Israeli settlers refused to leave, saying Gaza is part of the traditional Jewish homeland.

    Lavi went home to Israel two weeks ago and said the situation is stressful for a lot of people, especially for settlers who have family members buried in the settlements.

    Bou-Nacklie said his solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be to take the youngest generation out of the country.

    “You have to remove the young kids who don’t care,” Bou-Nacklie said. “It’s just so pointless. It’s the older generations’ war, not ours.”

    Dorraj said he hopes both sides do not lose their opportunity for a peace process.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.