UPDATES 9:30 am Israel time Thursday:
*Egyptian army units have now surrounded most major cities in the country in advance of Sunday’s “one million person” march against President Morsi.
*The Russians have supposedly withdrawn all of their military personnel and advisors from Syria (but will keep their naval task force just off the coast).
The Haaretz newspaper is reporting this morning that a senior minister of PM Netanyahu’s Likud Beiteinu Party says that Netanyahu “has accepted in principle” that Israel could surrender up to 90% of Judea and Samaria to a new “Palestinian state”–given the proper security arrangements.
Let’s understand exactly what this means. Such a move would involve the ethnic cleansing* of between 100,000 and 150,000 of the nearly 400,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria–as Jews living in more than 100 small Jewish communities would be uprooted from their homes and unceremoniously thrown out of the historical land of Israel.
It would not be the first time that Jews were ethnically cleansed.
Eight years ago, in August of 2005, Israel unilaterally destroyed 17 Israeli communities in the Gush Katif area of the southern Gaza Strip–razing the homes of the 8,600 residents there and evicting the residents.
Lest we forget them, as the world and mainstream Israeli society quickly did, here are the names of those destroyed communities:
- Bedolah בדולח (lit. Crystal)
- Bnei Atzmon בני עצמון
- Gadid גדיד (lit. picking of palm tree fruits)
- Gan Or גן אור (lit. Garden of light)
- Ganei Tal גני טל (lit. Gardens of dew)
- Kfar Darom כפר דרום (lit. South village)
- Kfar Yam כפר ים (lit. Village of the sea)
- Kerem Atzmona כרם עצמונה
- Morag מורג (lit. Harvest scythe)
- Neve Dekalim נוה דקלים (lit. Palm tree Oasis)
- Netzer Hazani נצר חזני
- Pe’at Sade פאת שדה (lit. the edge of the field)
- Katif קטיף (lit. harvest, picking of flowers)
- Rafiah Yam רפיח ים
- Shirat Hayam שירת הים (lit. Song of the sea)
- Slav שליו (lit. Quail)
- Tel Katifa תל קטיפא
All gone. Swept into the dustbin of history despite the Jewish connection to the land* by an Ariel Sharon Israeli government too arrogant and shortsighted to see how Hamas would immediately swoop in and use the area to launch more than 10,000 rockets at southern Israel. In fact, two of the largest synagogues in Gush Katif were rapidly transformed by Hamas into terrorist bases and rocket launching sites.
By the way, what has happened to the 8,600 residents (1800 families)–most of whom had already been ethnically cleansed from the northern Sinai Israeli community of Yamit back in 1982?
Most of them were forcibly bused to Nitzan, a stretch of barren sand about 4 km south of where your humble servant is sitting right now. There, they were placed in prefab housing and portable trailers (90 meters in size) and told that they would soon be relocated to permanent housing.
As it turned out, those prefab houses and trailers have become their permanent housing.
The families lucky enough to leave received a land allotment elsewhere in Israel large enough to house their home–and their prefab house or trailer in Nitzan was loaded onto a truck and carried to their new living site wherever it happened to be.
However, 350 of the of the original “housing units” are still sitting in Nitzan with 200 of the families from Gush Katif still inside (the additional 150 units are now used by children who have been born in the last 8 years). Large metal containers holding the possessions of these families still sit unopened beside their “homes”.
Even more disastrous has been the social and emotional toll on the “evacuees”. The Israeli government did not bother to build any public buildings in Nitzan (remember the site was supposed to have been temporary): no schools, no libraries, no synagogues, no health clinics–absolutely nothing. In essence, the Israeli government went out of its way to completely destroy the fabric of life of the Gush Katif communities.
And if all of this is not bad enough, some 20% of all the Gush Katif evacuees who had jobs before the cleansing remain unemployed today with fewer than half of the farmers who worked the land in Gush Katif able to find work. Most of the families remaining in Nitzan are on welfare.
As a resident of Nitzan recently commented: “It’s a shame and disgrace to the State of Israel.”
In terms of money, the cost of ethnically cleansing Gush Katif of all Jews has now reached 9,482,184,000 shekels (just over $2.5 billion dollars). Four billion more dollars are slated to be spent by the time the Nitzan site is supposed to be closed in 2015 (if it ever is).
So, dear reader, remind yourself that what happened in Gush Katif is but a small microcosm of what would happen in Judea and Samaria. Imagine everything that I just wrote multiplied by a factor of about 20 and you begin to get some idea of the complete absurdity of PM Netanyahu’s “acceptance in principle” this morning.
*An israelstreet blog in the coming months will be focused on the Jewish history of Gaza
**If you want to help the residents of Gush Katif, please click on this link to the Friends of Gush Katif “No Family Left Behind Project”.