Israel withdraws from the Gaza settlements, and what rolls in is a spontaneous orgy of looting and burning.

Students cut school, the terrorist groups carted out their homemade RPGs and prayed in the settlements’ smoldering synagogues, the poor scavenged the settlement carcasses, and the PA police and other security forces watched.

… For years, Palestinian sovereignty seemed only a dune away; the logic being that were it not for the settlers and their stranglehold on the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians could navigate toward a new future.

Khan Yunis Mayor Osama al-Farra toured the chaos at Neveh Dekalim and acknowledged that it wouldn’t be that easy. “In the past, we complained that we could not do the work. Now we must do everything possible to develop the land, without the excuse of Israel or the settlements,” he said.

An unusually candid politician, Farra had no illusions that the PA security forces would contain the curious masses streaming toward the settlements. Surveying the bulldozed buildings and the smoldering fires, Farra noted that “this place needs a lot of work.”

As if punctuating his sentence, an Islamic Jihad gunman barely a car’s length away aimed his AK-47 at a street lamp. Crack! He missed and fired again.

“That,” Farra continued seamlessly, “is a good example. A lot of work indeed.”

Neo-Neocon finds it tragic, and inevitable:

Imagine a society that nurtures rage in its children, feeding it and watering it like a precious crop. This is the harvest: a society in which those who would be moderates, those who would just like to get on with the sober and hopeful business of building a just and decent society, are overwhelmed by the explosion of carefully fostered rage.

Back to the “Post”:

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom dubbed the chaotic scenes – which climaxed with clashes between Egyptian soldiers and Palestinian civilians at the Rafah border – and particularly the torching of the synagogues, a “barbaric act.”

Bulldozer driver Turki Toman, 54, preferred the term “cathartic.” Plowing his Caterpillar through the earthen mounds the IDF had built to block Gaza’s main north-south route since the start of the intifada, he yelled down from his cab, “I feel great; this is the best work I’ve had in a while.”

The employee of the PA Public Works Ministry then volunteered that “I felt even better earlier this morning when I set my bulldozer on the synagogue.”

Lovely. And elsewhere in the Gaza:

The greenhouses, left behind by Israel as part of a deal brokered by international mediators, are a centerpiece of Palestinian plans for rebuilding Gaza after 38 years of Israeli occupation. The Palestinian Authority hopes the high-tech greenhouses will provide jobs and export income for Gaza’s shattered economy.

During a tour of Neveh Dekalim, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei implored Palestinians to leave the structures intact, even as people scavenged through debris elsewhere in the settlement.

“These greenhouses are for the Palestinian people,� he said. “We don’t want anyone to touch or harm anything that can be useful for our people.�

Just minutes away, crowds of looters in the Gadid settlement overwhelmed hundreds of guards trying to protect the greenhouses. Guards acknowledged that in many cases, they were unable to stop the looting.

“They are taking plastic sheeting, they are taking hoses, they are taking anything they can get their hands on,� said Hamza Judeh, a Palestinian policeman.

We’re worried about crescents here. But that’s not the symbol these particular Muslims have foremost in mind.

A lone green swastika was spray painted on the Neveh Dekalim synagogue.

Politics Palestinians Torch Synagogues