UPDATE: The last 36 hours have been traumatic ones in southern Israel with 10 Qassam rockets fired at Israeli border communities by Palestinian Islamist Hamas terrorists.
Your humble servant cannot help but once again express his absolute disgust at the Netanyahu government and the IDF for not launching a full-scale attack against the terrorists in Gaza. The government-IDF unwillingness to protect the citizens of southern Israel has become a national disgrace.
Speaking of disgust and a national disgrace, your humble servant was also shocked yesterday at this tiny news story that flew under the media radar:
“A Likud official on Tuesday informed 41 party members that had been evacuated from Gush Katif in 2005 that they are ineligible to vote in the Likud primary elections because their place of residence is as of yet unknown.”
Let me explain to you why this is so nauseatingly repulsive.
The story begins in Yamit, an Israeli community that was established in the northern Sinai in August of 1975 (Israel took the Sinai in the 1967 War and retained it in the 1973 Yom Kippur War). Eventually Yamit had a population of some 2500 people who had been urged by the Israeli government to express their Zionism by moving to Yamit, but when the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was signed, one of its stipulations was that Yamit would be evacuated and turned over to the Egyptians.
Most of Yamit’s residents saw the handwriting on the wall and voluntarily evacuated the community after being compensated by the Israeli government. A sizable minority however–joined by religious nationalists– refused to abandon their Zionist principles and evacuate, and urged Israel to annul the treaty with Egypt. This minority had significant support within Israel.
Nevertheless on April 23, 1982 Yamit was forcibly evacuated by the IDF. The scenes of Jewish community members being hauled out of their houses by Israeli soldiers were deeply imprinted on the Israeli psyche.
What made matters worse was that no sooner were the community members out of their houses than the government of Menachem Begin ordered the entire Yamit community razed to the ground.
Today, the only structure left in Yamit is the skeletal remains of the main synagogue.
Thus was the disastrous ‘land for peace’ policy–first practiced after the 1956 War–extended and solidified.
But where did all of the Yamit residents go who had been forcibly evicted from their homes in Yamit? It turns out that the Israeli government urged them to resettle in Gush Katif.
Gush Katif was the collective name of the Jewish communities of northern Gaza–communities that were initially centered in Kfar Darom. Kfar Darom, by the way, was the place that the Jewish community of Gaza had moved after the 1929 riots that ended with the expulsion of Jews from Gaza City. In the early 1930s, Jews purchased the land–only to be expelled again after the 1948 War of Independence. Kfar Darom was returned to Jews after the 1967 War.
But from 1967 until the early 1980s the population of Gush Katif did not grow very much. It was not until the community members from Yamit moved to Gush Katif that the community began to grow significantly.
Fast forward to 2005. After years of being promised that their communities would never be removed, the communities of Gush Katif fell prey to Ariel Sharon who decided to forcibly evict every man, woman, and child. On August 15, 2005, the IDF moved in and began the forcible eviction of Gush Katif; the last community members of Netzarim were traumatically hauled away a week later. The eviction was traumatic for the residents of Gush Katif and for the IDF soldiers ordered to remove them.
Some months afterward, the former residents of Gush Katif were provided “temporary” housing in various places–most notably near Nitzanim (between Ashkelon and Ashdod). Most of this temporary housing–which became like a squatters’ camp–has become permanent.
Which brings us to yesterday. If ever a group of people has been betrayed by the Israeli government, it is those original Zionist Jews who moved to Yamit at the encouragement of the Israeli government and steadfastly refused to leave their homes.
Encouraged to live in Yamit and then forcibly evicted; encouraged to live in Gush Katif and then forcibly evicted; dumped into temporary housing and forced to become squatters–this has been the fate of these proud Zionists.
The fact that a Likud official from Benjamin Netanyahu’s own party could deny evacuees from Gush Katif the right to vote yesterday because they “did not have a permanent address” is nothing less than another national disgrace.
THIS DAY IN ISRAELI HISTORY
On February 2, 1948, Arab bombers killed 52 Jewish civilians and injured 123 more on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.