The first thing to get done when my oldest daughter got engaged was to book the hall. “Is August 17 (2005) good for you?” the official at the hall asked me. I knew that was the day the expulsion from Gaza was picked by the government. But I had faith; there was no way the government would carry through on such an obvious faulted plan! “Sure, two days after Tish b’Av, laundry might be a bit challenging, but it will be fine,” I told the manager.
It was the date the government chose to evacuate Gaza if the ‘settlers’ did not remove themselves. But in my heart, there was no way this was really going to happen. The Israeli government, especially under the auspices of Sharon who fought so bravely capturing our homeland and back from the Arabs who took it all away from us in 1948 and was also the instigator of Betar Illit, the Haredi city my family lives in which sits on the settlement side of the border in the Gush, it did not make sense.
Yet it was Sharon who first originated the concept; the Israeli disengagement from Gaza (Hebrew: תוכנית ההתנתקות, Tokhnit HaHitnatkut; in the Disengagement Plan Implementation Law), also known as “Gaza expulsion” and “Hitnatkut”, dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and four small settlements in the northern Shomron and Yehudah settlements in that year,2005.
Sharon wanted this unilateral disengagement plan in the hope that then the Palestinian would be appeased and not asked for anything else. This policy has been brought to the Knesset many times by the left as innovated peace plan which has failed every time. Why? Because the Palestinians don’t want peace, they want all of Israel to be destroyed. When they finally did get Gaza, with the many greenhouses and beautiful homes and synagogues, they just destroyed. They did not want to benefit anything from a Jew’s hand. Have to admire their sincerity.
“Sharon’s pushing through this plan alienated many of his supporters on the right and garnered him unusual support from the left-wing in Israel. Yet, I was not alone; “many on both sides remained skeptical of his will to carry out a withdrawal beyond Gaza and the northern West Bank. Sharon had a majority for the plan in the government but not from his party. This forced him to seek a National Unity government, which was established in January 2005. Opponents of the plan, and some ministers, such as Benjamin Netanyahu and former minister Natan Sharansky, called on Sharon to hold a national referendum to prove that he had a mandate, which he refused to do.
“On September 14, the Israeli cabinet approved, by a 9–1 majority, plans to compensate settlers who left the Gaza Strip. Most families were expected to receive between U.S.$200,000 and 300,000.” But this didn’t happen. Families lost their homes, their lively hood and were expected by the banks to continue paying their mortgages of homes they no longer had.
Just today, eleven years later, in the news “The expelled residents of Elei Sinai in Gush Katif eventually who found residence in Kibbutz Palmachim are now building a synagogue.”
Eleven years ago, the residents of Elei Sinai in Gush Katif, set to be expelled from their homes, came to a decision: On the day of the expulsion, they refused to come to a hotel or some other temporary living situation, and instead decided to establish a protest tent.
For a year, the uprooted residents worked to find a living situation that would as much as possible, resemble what had been in Elei Sinai. The residents slowly moved north until they eventually came upon Kibbutz Palmachim, a veteran kibbutz founded a year after the establishment of the State of Israel.”
They are still finding their homes and picking up their lives.
My daughter did get married that day, even though we were filled with happiness; the day was tinged with sadness. My guests as they arrived that evening were wiping away tears as they entered since they had been watching the news of people being carried out of their homes they had built with the dreams of building up not only their families but the country.
And today we fight wars with Gaza from their missiles and terrorists that come into civilian’s homes. The country had nothing gained, but much was lost that day.
So as I wish my daughter and son-in-law a happy anniversary; I can’t say it isn’t always tinged with a bit of sadness.