The complete withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip which began from the day after Tisha B'Av in 2005, uprooted and removed 21 Israeli "settlements" within the Gaza Strip totalling about 9,000 people, the largest "settlement" area in Gaza being Gush Katif and wherein the exiles from this area now take their name. I have put the word 'settlement' in parentheses here because it is the wrong word. They were not the pioneering outposts people think of habitually when that disparaging term is used. These were neighbourhoods, as built up as any suburban area that you or I inhabit today.
Scandalously, Ariel Sharon, then Prime Minister of Israel went against his own people & all historical support and the expulsion of Jews from their own homeland followed. Another disparaging term was applied here ... "Disengagement". In the year leading up to the "disengagement" the colour orange identified people, restaurants, and stores, not only in the Gush Katif area, but throughout Eretz Yisrael as against the withdrawal of Israelis from their homes in Gaza loomed. Our land. The prominent slogan of the opposition movement was, Yehudi lo megaresh Yehudi ~ A Jew doesn't expel a Jew. But they were .... They were evicted from the entire area and their homes demolished as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan. It is Shameful that Jews were treated to this by their own people. The greatest tragedy of our times, the tragedy of Gush Katif ~ in fact, the end of legal Jewish residence in Gush Katif ~ happened on Tisha B'Av in 2005. We All need to grieve for Gush Katif!!
And today marks the Seventh Anniversary of the Giving of Gush Katif to our Arab enemy in the vain hope of some mythical 'Peace'. Seven years on that Aspiration lies trampled, the pain of those torn from Gush Katif remains real. Even today, many have not been given the opportunity to rebuild their homes or their lives, and not their community that was ripped away from them. And Gaza has become not only Judenrein, but a launching pad to unleash terror into Eretz Yisrael on a sustained basis. Rockets Rain on Southern Israel Regularly, as do Missiles of various sort, including the detonating human variety.
Gush Katif was a strip of land bordering Gaza where 21 Jewish communities had turned the desert to bloom .... it boasted some of the highest developed Green House farming projects in Israel, and indeed, in the world. A 'Breadbasket' of Israel, yet today, it is part of the Gaza centre of a 'palestinian' terrorist hell-hole. And it is 'Judenrein' !!! That's right, Zero Israelis, dead or alive, remain in Gaza. The Orchards & thriving farmland that were so treasured in Gush Katif have been Razed. Nothing Remains!
Israel's government, leaned over backwards to appease the anti-Semite nations of the world who wanted, according to the Road Map Peace Plan, a 'palestinian' State to share Eretz Yisrael, the ONLY Jewish State on the planet, with Jews by creating "two viable, secure states living in peace side by side". This has been shown to be a falsity & a farce. The Arab plan of gaining Eretz Yisrael in "Pieces" remains intact!!
In retrospect, the recklessness of that move has become all too apparent, as Gaza has been transformed into a launching pad for rocket attacks against the Jewish state, leaving southern towns and cities across the Negev, such as Sderot, in the crosshairs of palestinian terrorists. The fiasco of Israel’s retreat has led many of those who supported the move to publicly admit the error of their ways. In November 2007, former Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer of the Labour Party told an Israeli radio station, “I admit and I confess that I was among those who strongly supported Ariel Sharon (and the withdrawal). Today I say, with my head held high, ‘We erred, we made a very big mistake.’” Amein to that!!
Other senior Israeli military officers, pundits, journalists, and politicians have likewise acknowledged that the Gaza pull-out has proven to be ill-advised. And neither, I might add, can I understand it either. Indeed, it is still hard to accept that the forcible removal of Gaza’s Jews took place, or to believe that we could have possibly reached such a low point in the history of our nation. After so many years of struggle and sacrifice, those once celebrated as pioneers by successive Israeli governments were demonized as obstacles to peace and treated with contempt by much of the Israeli media. The Israel Defence Forces were deployed against the citizens of their own state, with the express purpose not of defending the Jewish people but of exiling them from parts of their ancestral birthright. And withdrawal under fire, once derided as capitulation to terror, suddenly became official government policy.
So, on 18th, August 2005, Israel carried out its "disengagement initiative", handing over all of Gaza and part of the West Bank to the Arab enemy ~ poor palestinians ~ making the tiny Jewish State the first country in modern history to give up land acquired in a defensive war. The forced evacuation of Jewish citizens from Gush Katif by their own government rival the discriminating and brutal treatment of Jews by Jew-hating German authorities under Hitler ~ but this time in their own Land. Ha'Shems Land .... Not ours to Give away at all!
The Anti - Semitic world was gleeful, trumpeting the evacuation of Gaza as signaling the end of the dream of “Greater Israel.” But I believe they could not have been more mistaken. For the dream of return rightly lives on. It might take years or even decades to achieve, but of one thing we can all be sure .... the Jewish people will eventually bounce back, just as we have throughout our history. And soon enough, the sand dunes of Gaza will once again most assuredly be Eretz Yisrael! B'Zereth Ha'Shem!!