Reporters on the Job

Writing on the Wall: As Israeli settlers left their homes in Gaza (page 1), many left behind written messages for the Israeli troops and policemen - or perhaps for the world to see.

Staff writer Ilene Prusher says that there's graffiti in Hebrew on the outside and inside of the empty houses. "Some of it was written by protesters of the pullout, she says. I saw "Death to Arabs," "Every withdrawal leads to more terrorism," "Gush Katif forever," or "We lived happily here for 25 years and you took our home away."

But she was struck too but some of the large handwritten words on a living room wall in one home. "It said, 'Our hearts are broken but we take this decree with love." And then there was a biblical quote: 'The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.' This was in a house empty of furniture but there were some clothes, flip-flops and towels from a last shower," says Ilene.

On another wall in the house she saw: "We are sure that all that happens is only for the good. We will yet return. Our spirits are not broken."

"This particular graffitti reflects a sentiment I heard from a number of settlers in recent days. The essence was that 'I hope this doesn't happen but if it does, it must be God's will.' It's how many tried to make sense of the withdrawal from Gaza," she says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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