Morag Prepares Barricades, Psychological Warfare

Morag has about 30 families, plus another 25 families that came there in recent weeks along with several hundred teenagers from the West Bank and activists from the Orange Cell student group.

Yuval Azoulay
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Yuval Azoulay

There isn't a child in the isolated southern Gaza Strip settlement of Morag who doesn't know what "Bible lesson" means. Yesterday, they practiced the code name over and over. Every time the announcer burst out with "Bible lesson," every soul in the moshav dropped what he was doing and ran toward a long line of fortified positions that had been completed before noon yesterday, in preparation for the forced evacuation.

Morag has about 30 families, plus another 25 families that came there in recent weeks along with several hundred teenagers from the West Bank and activists from the Orange Cell student group. They worry about the upcoming arrival of security forces coming to take them away. One leader of the struggle in Morag, Yuval Ulterman, promises "surprises."

MK Benny Elon, who has been residing in a small house in the moshav of late, promises resistance - but not by force. Barricading is not out of the question: "Let the army work hard to locate us, one at a time. When it submits to a divisive order, it shouldn't expect any help from us," he said.

Yesterday, everyone was concerned with how best to barricade themselves. Everything there was fortified: the water tower, attics, rooftops, a clubhouse. All day long, residents and right-wing activists stocked up on food and water. Boys dragging wood planks for sealing off doors were a common sight.

The air is hot, the place teems with activity, the tension evident on the face of every orange girl. Occasionally, a group of girls could be spotted crying in a corner of the settlement. They realize the story is about to end. Despite this, they'll still run to their makeshift fortress the next time the slogan "Bible lesson" is announced: an abandoned house at the entrance to the settlement.

"We already have orderly plans of action," Ulterman says. "We won't discuss most of these because we need to leave surprises for the middle and the end. What we do know for sure is that families will barricade themselves on rooftops and appeal to the emotions of the police and soldiers. We will resist evacuation but there will not be violence. Obviously, if they bring in the Border Police SWAT team, even resisting wouldn't do any good. They'll take us out of here even if our hands go on hanging onto the refrigerator."

A sign hangs atop the water tower: "I have no other country." Liron Zeidan of the Orange Cell organization and his people wrapped the sign with ribbons the colors of the Israeli flag. On Monday, when the head of the Golani Brigade, Colonel Erez Zuckerman, came to the gate of the moshav to deliver the evacuation orders, he found behind it Zeidan, who had served as an officer under his command in Battalion 13. The speech the brigade commander heard from his orange-clad former subordinate will never be forgotten.

"If I had gone to the course for company commanders, I would be in the same place," Zeidan said yesterday, still getting a little enjoyment from his glorious confrontation with the brigade commander, "except that I would be wearing an olive uniform, not an orange uniform. My whole gang from the Golani is here."

Zeidan shed some more light last night on what the evacuating forces can expect in Morag. "It will be a rush. We'll conduct intelligent psychological warfare. We'll speak to them in such a way that they won't be crying after the evacuation; they'll be crying even before they've asked us to do anything," he said.

Meanwhile, Moshe Maimon, the father of one of the 10 families that left Morag voluntarily yesterday, had other things on his mind: the shipping containers he had been promised had not yet arrived and it was getting late.

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