The "disengagement" of Israel from its settlements in the Gaza strip is less than two weeks away, and virtually all of the articles in Haaretz are focused on what might be a pivotal event in the history of both Israel and Palestine. While I thought the televised cursing of Prime Minister Sharon so that he would die was weird, the tale of the suicidal surfing settlers is far stranger.
Avid surfers from several Gush Katif communities are threatening to take their boards out to sea on evacuation day and commit mass suicide by drowning. Settlement secretariats, psychologists and social workers have known about the plans of these young men, aged 16-21, for several weeks.
Neveh Dekalim's chief security officer, Ami Shaked, confirmed this information yesterday. "The report is very serious. I plan to talk with the boys. These are guys who have fallen into very deep emotional distress. They have seen their parents in tough crisis situations. I believe that if I can manage to deal with the hard core of the group, which numbers 10-12 people concentrated in one of the settlements, the others will drop the matter. I will personally do everything to prevent [suicides], including shooting them in the legs," he said.