The Expulsion From Gush Katif

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Posts Tagged ‘Gush Katif’

Fundamentally Freund: Rebuild Gush Katif

Posted by emmalazarus on January 14, 2009

Last week, shortly after Israeli ground forces entered Gaza, there was a brief news item on the radio which caught my attention.

Amid the flurry of reports emanating from the front, the announcer noted in passing that troops had arrived at the ruins of the Jewish communities  of Dugit in northern Gaza and Netzarim in the center of the strip He then quickly moved on to discuss various other pressing events in the current campaign against terror.

Left unsaid, of course, was the colossal and bitter irony of this development. After all, it was just three and a half years ago, in August 2005, that soldiers descended on the Jewish communities of Gaza to expel their Jewish residents from their homes. And now the men in uniform find themselves forced to do battle against Hamas in those very same locations.

What a stinging rebuke to all those who preached the gospel of retreat in the face of terror and prophesied peace and harmony by removing Jews. 

If nothing else, it is a telling reminder of a basic and fundamental truth of Zionist history and Middle Eastern reality: Jewish settlements are not an obstacle to peace, but an impediment to war.

Only by firmly planting the flag deep into every part of the Land of Israel can we ensure our continued existence in the face of ongoing Arab expansionism and Palestinian irredentism.

That is why it is time now to right the moral and historical wrong of Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan and rebuild Gush Katif.

To view the full story click here



Posted in Disengagement, Gaza, Gush Katif, israel, Israeli politics, Middle East, war in gaza | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Israeli costs of Gaza operation mount

Posted by emmalazarus on January 11, 2009

Conservative estimates put the cost of Gaza invasion at $3 bn so far. As IAF reduces its scope op operation, direct costd will not rise rapidly. The call-up of 20,000 reservists pushes indirect costs upward: at $4,500 average GDP per employee per month economic losses run close to $1 bn monthly, further increased by economic stagnation in the embattled south.

So far, every Israeli Jewish family shelled out $3,000 to correct the government’s decision to disengage from Gaza three years ago. Staying in Gaza was not only profitable in terms of Gush Katif economic output, but far less expensive than the current invasion.

This article appeared in IUN. To visit the site, click here

Posted in Disengagement, Gaza, Gush Katif, israel, Israeli politics, Middle East, war in gaza | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Little Shelter from the Storm

Posted by emmalazarus on January 8, 2009

by Michele Chabin
Israel Correspondent for the Jewish Week

Nitzan, Israel – It’s not easy to maintain a sense of humor during a Hamas rocket attack, but for the residents of this “caravilla” park, home to 450 families uprooted from their Gaza settlements in August 2005, it’s either laugh or cry. Often, they find themselves doing both. “We’re sitting in totally unprotected cardboard houses with no bomb shelters, no reinforced safe rooms,” says Rachel Saperstein, at the kitchen table of her simple pre-fab house in Nitzan, located smack dab between the cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, both popular Hamas targets. 

Late last week, the Defense Ministry delivered dozens of huge concrete sewage pipes to the community, dubbed them shelters, and placed them in every cul-de-sac. Someone spray-painted “The Home Front Command is always  thinking of you.” That elicited a laugh. So did the term “cylindrical shelters” coined by the ministry. During a brief tour of the “shelters” – one, that serves fervently Orthodox families, has separate entrances for men and women – Saperstein notes that the pipes “won’t withstand a direct hit.” When some reserve soldiers came to see how she and her husband, Moshe, a disabled veteran and terror victim, were coping with the stress of war, “I started laughing through the tears. This is what we’ve been reduced to: a bunch of sewage pipes.”

While all residents of southern Israel have been deeply affected by the war raging between Israel and Hamas, the event has been particularly difficult for Gaza settlers who were forcibly evicted from their homes by the Israeli government. The Israel Trauma Coalition has identified more than 300 families in Nitzan that are in need of psycho-trauma services, according to ITC’s director, Talia Levanon. Established by the UJA-Federation of New York in 2002, ITC is an umbrella organization encompassing 65 organizations, hospitals and government offices. Many of these families, Levanon says, were already receiving ITC counseling before the war started two weeks ago. None of the residents have moved into permanent homes, leading to a sense of displacement and insecurity. Many are unemployed. 
Hagit Yaron, a member of Nitzan’s emergency committee and an ITC team member, says that “overall Nitzan residents are coping pretty well but it’s a very individual thing. There were some people who needed assistance in Gush Katif and they need help now, too.”

This is an extract of an article that appeared in The Jewish Week. To view the full article, click here

Posted in Expulsion, Gaza, Gush Katif, israel, Israeli politics, Middle East | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Life-protecting Sewers for Gush Katif Expellees

Posted by emmalazarus on December 31, 2008

By Sara Layah Shomron

Our family lives at the Nitzan caravilla site, halfway between Ashkelon and Ashdod. NO bomb shelters at this Nitzan or any temporary caravilla site. So when the Red Alert siren sounds of incoming rocket(s) – we quickly lay down on the floor and cover our heads as though in an open field (even one of our dogs initially cooperated as he put his paws over his ears) while others squeeze large families under their dining table, or behind a sofa and yet others simply ignore the warning and sit/walk outside.

“Bomb shelters” are being brought in today. One neighborhood already has. It’s comprised of three HUGE sewer pipes about 6ft tall and 12-15 ft long, put together to create one shelter in which one can stand and walk. On each end there’s a cement block covering most of the opening so one is protected from shrapnel. It’s like a hamster’s toy – only BIGGER. Actually my Wisconsin elementary school playground had a couple of these. Kids would squeeze inside during school-time recesses to keep warm from the freezing winter temperatures.
In our cul-de-sac today there was a conversation calmly discussing where to put the concrete sewage pipes in our parking lot. People don’t seem to be panicking (I translate and paraphrase):

Not in front of my house. It will destroy our breeze and view

I have a measuring tape – here- take an end

Put it in front of my house

No put it over there- it’s more in the middle
The government will get us all inside these and seal them closed

We’ve been expelled from our houses, in these caravillas, and now we’re supposed to go into sewers? What’s happening to us?
Does anybody know if these are used?
Have you guys seen the other neighborhood where kids are drawing on them? We should have a contest

You know we’ll have to sleep in street clothes
A neighbor sent their pre-teen daughter to request the sewage pipes be put by her house –they can’t make it in 30 seconds otherwise. And so went the conversation.
Several hours later three HUGE sewer pipes were trucked into our neighborhood. One of the neighbors made it clear to the army officer in charge that they wanted the pipes placed somewhere other than immediately in front of their caravilla. A compromise was reached with the sewage pipes placed a further distance in front of their caravilla. After all, we wouldn’t want the sewage pipes to dislodge, roll, and smash into a caravilla.


Postscript: The siren sounded just a short while ago in the late evening hours. My husband, on the computer wearing earphones, hadn’t heard. Suddenly he noticed me and the girls lying on the floor with our hands protecting our heads. “What are you doing? I didn’t hear a siren – outside to the sewers” said he. We had totally forgotten and made haste. Only four other neighborhood families joined us. We were about to return to our caravillas when we felt another BOOM though heard no siren. Methinks from now on we’ll sleep in our street clothes with a warm jacket in easy reach.
“Even miles away you can be a part of us and together we will write a new page in the history of e Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” Katif Fund

In the US: Make checks payable to

Friends of Gush Katif (501 (c)(3))
PO Box 1184
Teaneck, NJ 07666

In Israel:

Gush Katif Committee
Ahuzat Etrog
P.O.B 450
Israel, 79411

Posted in Expulsion, Gush Katif, israel, Israeli politics, Middle East | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Out of the Frying Pan – Into the Fire

Posted by emmalazarus on December 30, 2008

By Shifra Shomron

There was a siren. It was loud and alarming and we didn’t know what to do – we had never heard a siren before and anyways, there was nowhere to run. You see, in Gush Katif we had always been warned after the mortars had fallen, not before though at least there our houses were solid cement and cinderblock. In fact, shortly before Disengagement, the Government had even finished reinforcing our ceilings and then we really felt safe in our house from mortars.

But that was then, and now as I heard the siren I did the only thing I could: I dived off my bed (it was nighttime and I was in pajamas) and onto the floor and covered my head with my hands. All the time there was one thought running through my head: ‘this is absurd’. And then the siren stops its wailing, and after a few seconds I heard a muffled BOOM and realized that Ashkelon or Ashdod must have gotten hit. And I prayed that everyone was safe, and knew that thank G-d our Caravilla was still standing. As the missile had fallen, I could return to bed and spend the rest of the night hearing planes flying overhead and wondering if they were indeed planes or missiles.

In short, I was up all night. At one point I turned the lights on and tried knitting to make myself drowsy. It did – but I still couldn’t sleep.

You’d think that after all the years in Gush Katif we’d be used to being bombed. But the bombs weren’t so strong then, and we didn’t feel so defenseless. The Caravillas are plaster, and they are definitely in range. When they were put down the government saved costs and didn’t build them with security rooms, as they’re obliged to do by law to any structure in Israel, by the loophole that these were “temporary” structures.

So now the army is establishing a five meter long cement tube sort of thing in each cul-de-sac. You can stand in them. They won’t protect you from a direct hit, though. We can all run there each time we hear a siren. God, I wish I had the young child’s attitude; they’re drawing on the walls in there with chalk and enjoying the echo.

Shifra Shomron is the author of the historic novel, Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim, (Mazo Publishers). “Travel beyond time and beyond location – into my Gush Katif”
Visit Shifra’s website:

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Second Expulsion for Family in Nitzan

Posted by naomigrossman on November 24, 2008

Sela, the disengagement administration, has expelled a family, originally from northern Samaria, from a caravilla at Nitzan, where many Gush Katif expellees are still living in temporary accommodation. Dozens of policemen evicted the family in a display reminiscent of the original expulsion from Gush Katif, bringing back bad memories for the frustrated residents of Nitzan, who still live in harsh conditions and continue to deal with many social problems caused by the destruction of their former homes.

To read an Israel National News report on the incident and watch video coverage, click here.

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Enviromental Row Over Proposed New Orange Community

Posted by naomigrossman on September 17, 2008

The Jerusalem Post reports that the National Planning Council has approved the construction of a new community in Mirsham, located in the Lachish Region near Kiryat Gat and Beit Govrin. The new community will provide a permanent home for 45 families that formerly lived in Gush Katif. Two other communities have also been approved in the Lachish area, possibly providing accommodation for around 300 Gush Katif families.

This news has not been well received by environmentalists, however, who may well appeal the decision.

To read the article in The Jerusalem Post, click here.

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American Students To Protest Against New Disengagement

Posted by naomigrossman on September 10, 2008

IsraelNN reports that Jewish American students are planning a coast-to-coast protest against Olmert’s proposed new disengagement plan. They also want to wake up the Jewish leadership and galvanize them into speaking out against the plan.

The demonstration is expected to last 45 minutes, or one classroom session, in which the students and high school pupils will stand to show their solidarity. IsraelNN quotes the organizer, Yosef Rabin of the United Jewish Student Council as saying, ““We are striking in response to the silence of the Jewish leadership on the planned expulsion of 300,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria, division of Jerusalem and the abandonment of the holy Temple Mount.”

To read the article on Israel National News, click here.

Posted in Gush Katif, israel, Israeli politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Government Throwing “Sand in the Eyes” of West Bank Residents

Posted by naomigrossman on September 7, 2008

Ynet, the website of Yediot Acharonot, reports on the reactions of the former residents of Gush Katif to Chaim Ramon’s latest plan to compensate the Jewish residents of 72 communities that the government is thinking of relocating.


According to the plan, the government will compensate each family that moves prior to an evacuation. However, former residents of Gush Katif, many of whom are still living in temporary accommodation and continue to be out of work three years after the expulsion, have a strong sense of déjà vu.


They are throwing sand in these settlers’ eyes,” Chaggit Yaron, formerly of Neve Dekalim, is quoted as saying in the article. “They think money can solve this matter, but money is not even the issue. There are values and ideology here which are not being discussed at all, and instead they talk about the money the settlers will be given. Such a move cannot be implemented in exchange for money.”


Click here to read the full article that appeared on Ynet.

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Children in training in the Gaza Strip; Islamic Jihad stages parade

Posted by emmalazarus on September 1, 2008

An article appeared in Israel National News, which highlights the latest in the military build up that is going on in Gaza, particularly amongst the young. The article written by Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel of Israel National News quotes an 11 year old boy as saying “I am learning how to fight the Jews and kill Jewish children,” he goes on to say that: “The parents of the Jewish children are the soldiers and officers who kill us here. I want these parents to get a taste of what it’s like to have your children killed, just as the Palestinians experience every day.” (IsraelNN)

It is reported that this young boy along with many others, has undergone “live firearms training, including pistols and rifles, from the Salah al-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees reports”. (IsraelNN)

On the same token, Islamic Jihad over the weekend held a military parade in the South of the Gaza Strip to show their force. Abu Hamzeh, the group’s military chief threatened to “unleash the fires of hell… We’re getting ready for the next round” he said (AFP) claiming that there are “hundreds of rockets” ready to fire on Israel.

Click here to see the full article that appeared in Israel National News

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