During the first day of Israel's forcible evacuation of Gaza settlers, troops were authorized to be tough but were still under orders to act as sensitively as possible.

One high-ranking policeman stood in the street near the settlement's main synagogue holding a settler baby, and cooing, "Who do you want?"

After soldiers hauled out two resisting men from the Ohayon family's house by their arms and legs, another gently carried out a toddler, wiping tears from the clinging boy's cheeks.

Family members and neighbors weren't impressed by the soldiers' actions.

"You should be ashamed of yourselves," a neighbor shouted out as soldiers carried out one of the men.

"Oh, merciful God," cried the man, who wore an orange star of David (search) on his shirt — orange, the color of the pullout protest movement, and the star, a throwback to the star the Nazis required Jews to wear in WWll.

Comparisons of evacuating forces to Nazis was common in settlements across Gaza.

As soldiers arrived in Kerem Atzmona (search), settlers shouted, "Nazi!" and wore stars of David on their T-shirts.

The use of Nazi imagery has caused an uproar in Israel, home to tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors.


Protest styles varied in a single house in Gaza's largest settlement, Neve Dekalim (search).

Eldad Sharabi and his son kneeled on the ground after security forces approached their home, then lay prone. The father then stood up while his son remained on the ground, trying to cling to the ground as soldiers picked him up and dragged him onto a waiting bus.

The father, who wept throughout, blessed his son. Shaking hands with one of the soldiers, he prepared to leave Neve Dekalim in his car, which was piled with bags, a baby seat and other belongings.

Eight youths sat on the roof of the house as the scene played out. "We're going to protect your house," they shouted at Sharabi.


Tenderness combined with toughness at the Morag (search) settlement, too. A female soldier with tears in her eyes held a toddler in her arms, gave him some candy and implored, "Where is his mother?" Another soldier waved away flies from a toddler in a stroller.

Earlier in the day, troops scuffled with protesters who barricaded the entrance to the settlement with overturned garbage containers, shrubbery and rocks. Hundreds of troops entered the community's synagogue to carry out residents who had gathered there.


Soldiers and police received hours and hours of simulation training to prepare them for the verbal abuse and entreaties of pullout opponents.

But that wasn't enough to prepare some of the troops, who broke down sobbing, sometimes in each other's arms, or in the arms of settlers, when settlers likened them to Nazis, or shouted at them for tearing families from their homes.

"We were trained for this, but simulation can't prepare you for this," one soldier said before she was sent to evict a family.

Minutes after the operation began, she was sitting on a curbside, weeping, comforted by a fellow soldier.