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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gush Katif’

If Egypt Can Destroy Gaza’s Tunnels…

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The topography of Israel’s shared border with Hamas-occupied Gaza is far too complicated, different and longer than Egypt’s shared border with Gaza to replicate what Egypt just did, but it does make one think about other possible solutions.

Fed up with Hamas sending terrorists into the Sinai via the underground tunnels, as well as the smuggling tunnels, Egypt redirected water from the Mediterranean sea, flooding everything under the ground along their shared border.

If we’re already being creative, here’s another thought… the Mediterranean could be Israel’s solution too.

Perhaps Israel could find a way to get every Gazan $5000, a fake Syrian passport (there’s plenty of those floating around) and a seat on a boat sailing across the Mediterranean into to Europe.

Once the sane people leave, it’s clean up time, and we rebuild Gush Katif.

Bearing Witness to Bravery

Thursday, August 6th, 2015


Yishai plays recordings from the month-and-a-half he and his wife, Malka, spent broadcasting from Gush Katif during the 2005 disengagement.

The Fleishers provided their priceless, on-the-scene perspective of one of the most dramatic moments in Israeli history, as they observed the communities’ valiant refusal to leave their homes — even as their towns were cut off from food and supplies — while being intimidated by the Israeli government.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Traumatized Jews Battle Israeli Forces, Nightmares in Samaria

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

In the week leading up to the Jewish holiday of love and matchmaking — Tu B’Av — Israelis in Samaria are battling the IDF and old nightmares, returned.

Rows of rigid military police standing shoulder to shoulder with their eyes averted, massive plexiglass riot shields ready at their feet. Female Border Guard Police officers in groups of three, wearing massive equipment and huge riot helmuts gently lifting a praying, weeping woman protester who is overcome with grief as she remembers another evacuation, and thousands of other homeless Jews in Israel.

An Israeli woman weeps as she prays while police drag her away at Beit El protest.

To the Beit El supporters, who included former residents of the demolish communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria, this week’s eviction of protesters at the two Draynoff buildings felt horrendously familiar.

Beit El protesters pray  near Israeli security troops deployed prior to demolition of two apartment houses in the community.

Hundreds of Judea and Samaria residents flocked to the aid of their fellow Jews in the community of Beit El, where Israel’s High Court on Wednesday upheld a demolition order for two half-finished apartment houses.

The destruction was to be carried out by Thursday, pre-empting the original order, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 2. But by 12 noon Wednesday, the bulldozers had already torn out the heart of an Israeli flag painted on to the side of one of the buildings.

First, the demolition crew tore out the heart of the Israeli flag on the building.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has already said the structures can be rebuilt since land permits were secured after their construction. But that’s not really the point.

Was the praying, weeping woman going to be homeless that day? Was the man in his prayer shawl threatened, intensely shaking his fist while beseeching the Creator to intervene? No.

"Yesh Din v'yesh Dayan." There is a Law and there is a Judge. A traumatized Beit El resident warns Israeli security forces that retribution will come from Above.

But stark fear haunts nearly every resident of Judea and Samaria as they intently watch events at Beit El.

Some traumatized Israeli protesters seemed numb as they stood up to security forces at Beit El.

The 2005 Disengagement of Gaza began much the same way, they say, and no one is willing to repeat that massive error.

Israeli security troops stand ready to move against protesters at Beit El -- as they did at Gush Katif exactly 10 years ago this week.

Ten years later nearly to the day, this week, there remain even now families who are still homeless, who live in “temporary” caravillas in a trailer park in Nitzan.

The government “reparation” money ran out long before Israel made good on its promise to provide them with new land to replace that which was wrested from them — in many cases, land with which they made their living as independent business owners. Meanwhile, they were forced by their banks to continue paying off mortgages on the homes that were demolished in an expulsion over which they had no choice, using the funds that had been earmarked for purchasing new homes or starting new livelihoods.

Marriages and families were crushed with the communities in that destruction. Major depressions and suicides led to lives being snuffed out along with Israel’s presence in Gaza.

Four communities in northern Samaria were destroyed as well, among them the small town of Sa-Nur.

Now former residents of that community have decided they have seen enough, and this week stated their intention to return and rebuild their town.

Some 20 families along with 200 other supporters from around the country flocked to the site two days ago, as events heated up in Beit El, and settled in for the duration; they are now working together to prepare the town for re-habitation.

The families sent a letter to the prime minister and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Tuesday, urging them to refrain from another expulsion.

“IDF soldiers are our beloved brothers, flesh of our flesh. We demand not to repeat the trauma of the expulsion, and not to force IDF soldiers to expel us again from our homes,” they wrote. “Placing the soldiers against their settler brothers is the addition of sin to a crime. Even if the government wants to expel Jews from their homes and their land, that should be done by police officers, and not by soldiers and Border Patrol soldiers who give the best of their years for the security of Israel.”

The tensions could tear apart the fragile 61-member coalition cobbled together by Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

It has certainly re-traumatized thousands of Israeli Jews who desperately trying to rebuild their lives productively in Samaria — one of the most beautiful areas of the Land of Israel.

Tent City Raised to Protest Beit El Building Demolitions

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Residents of Judea and Samaria have set up a tent city to protest the anticipated building demolitions set to take place in the Jewish community of Beit El, and the de facto building freeze they say is being exerted over the entire area.

The issues could threaten an already fragile government coalition.

Early Tuesday morning, Border Guard Police officers evicted protesters from two half-built apartment buildings that once completed were to have 24 housing units. At least 50 arrests were made in the wee hours before dawn, with some protesters being dragged away.

The Draynoff Buildings, as they are called, had already received the necessary permits from the Civil Administration and the Beit El Council, but were facing demolition orders from Israel’s High Court of Justice because their initial construction began without permits.

“Our stance with regard to the Beit El homes is clear,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a statement during the day. “We oppose their demolition and we are working through legal means to prevent this.”

Nevertheless, as the matter stands now, the area around the buildings has been declared a closed military zone until August 2, and Border Guard Police officers have moved into the buildings in order to prevent Beit El residents from doing so and regaining control.

By nightfall Tuesday, residents of Judea and Samaria had set up a tent city near the community in solidarity with the Beit El residents.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was expected to eventually visit the site. Her party chairman and Israel’s Education Minister, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, who spent time at the site, condemned the court’s decision to demolish the buildings and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s decision to send in the troops.

Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Jerusalem Affairs MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) agreed, pointing out that not long ago Netanyahu had vowed to build 300 new homes in Beit El. “This is the time to build, and not destroy,” he said.

MK Oren Hazen and numerous other Knesset members and politicians met for most of the day with community leaders in Beit El.

“This is exactly the reason we did not join the government,” commented Yisrael Beytenu chairman and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman.

“Already during coalition talks Prime Minister Netanyahu did not agree to our conditions that he commit to building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. I therefore call upon Minister Bennett and all of Bayit Yehudi to join me and Yisrael Beytenu in the Opposition – so that afterwards we can establish a true nationalist government that engages in building and not in destroying.”

Given the deep and bitter disappointment exhibited Tuesday by Bayit Yehudi party members, colleague MK Moti Yogev warned the prime minister’s slim coalition of 61 could indeed be facing a real crisis over the issue.

Commented party colleague MK Nissan Slomiansky, chairman of the Knesset Constitution and Law committee: “I find the timing of the eviction puzzling, given the fact that the buildings are being authorized.”

And as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) told reporters with ire: “On the day marking a decade since the Disengagement, the defense minister decides to send security forces, under the cover of darkness, to Beit El.

“All of this, despite what he promised me, and despite what I then passed along to the residents of the place.”

Memories of Sand and Sea: Gush Katif Residents Mark 10 Years to Disengagement

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

For the 9,000 Gush Katif residents uprooted from their homes during Israel’s unilateral 2005 Disengagement from the southwestern edge of Gaza, memories of life in the sandy strip are still painfully strong.

“I miss the sea and I miss my home,” said Hodaya Giat, 28, whose sad eyes echo her spoken sentiment.

“I can still remember who I was there; today I have this strange feeling of detachment,” Giat told Tazpit News Agency in an interview. “I’m still searching for myself, trying to find my place” explained Giat, who studied human resources in college and works as a cashier at a supermarket today.

“All my childhood was erased, my home destroyed,” said Giat, who lived with her family in Kfar Darom. “And no one stopped it from happening. We couldn’t stop it.”

Following the late PM Ariel Sharon’s announcement of the Disengagement Plan in December 2003, residents of Gush Katif led a massive state-wide campaign to stop the expulsion, which was eventually carried out nearly two years later on August 15, 2005.

“Imagine if this happened to you, that your home was destroyed?” asks Giat. “We are simple people, people of faith and Zionistic ideals. Our community saw Ariel Sharon lay a foundation stone and then he and his government destroyed it.”

“It’s so hard to understand even today,” she said. Four communities in northern Samaria were dismantled during the Disengagement while in Gush Katif, the destruction of 1,900 homes, 400 farms, 88 educational facilities including day care centers, kindergartens and high schools and 38 synagogues took place.

The community that Giat grew up in, Kfar Darom, had a long history of Jewish residents living in the area before the State of Israel was established. In the 1930s, the Jewish National Fund purchased land in the area from a citrus grower by the name of Tuvia Ziskind Miller. The area was settled in 1946 and a kibbutz was formed called Kfar Drom after the Jewish village that stood there in the Mishnah period, according to the Gush Katif and Northern Samaria Commemoration Center website. In 1948, the Egyptian army attacked the kibbutz and destroyed it during Israel’s War of Independence. By the end of the war, Egypt captured the Gaza Strip and controlled it for nearly the next 20 years.

Following the Six Day War, Kfar Darom was re-established in 1970 as one of the many Israeli agricultural villages in the strip.

“The security situation wasn’t easy,” recalled Giat. “There were many terror attacks. We could have left during those difficult times but we didn’t.”

In one of the worst attacks, in November 2000, a Palestinian roadside bombing targeted a school bus full of children from Kfar Darom, which killed two adults and crippled three siblings for life, causing them to lose their limbs in the attack. In response, Kfar Darom built a school within the community.

“There was a special spirit in Kfar Darom despite the hardship,” said Hodaya’s mother, Orna. “We were always rebuilding, continuing on with our lives. Our connection to the land was so strong.”

“The state should have been much more sensitive to the situation of Gush Katif residents,” stressed Nachi Eyal, the Director General of the Legal Forum for Israel, which was established to defend and uphold the legal rights of Gush Katif evacuees in the wake of the Disengagement.

“The damages would have been much less, had all the Gush Katif communities been resettled together,” Eyal explains. “These people are community-oriented people; their strength came from their communities. Once the Gush Katif residents were scattered all over Israel and long-standing communities were divided and torn apart, the pain and damages were much greater,” he said.

10 Buses for 10 Years: Remembering Gush Katif

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

JERUSALEM July 2, 2015 – The International Young Israel Movement – Israel Branch (IYIM), the Gush Katif Commemoration Center and Friends of Gush Katif are organizing a unique and powerful summer program entitled “10 Buses for 10 Years: Remembering Gush Katif.

This interactive trip, marking the ten year anniversary of the withdrawal from Gush Katif, stands strong with a mission to take ten busloads of visitors, both Israelis and tourists alike, to several of the new Gush Katif communities. The hope is to show solidarity to the former residents and that we are still here with them and for them.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet with former Gush Katif residents, hear their stories, and see what has been accomplished in the new communities. Visitors will additionally tour the powerful Gush Katif Commemoration Center – one of three National Heritage Centers recognized by the Israeli Government. The Center introduces the story of settling rural Gush Katif in all aspects: establishment, coping with terror, the struggle, displacement and renewal.

“Ten years is a long time in the collective memory,” commented Daniel Meyer, IYIM’s Executive Director. “These people who we hugged and cried with in the summer of 2005 have largely receded from public eye and public memory. IYIM is proud that we have continued to stand with them and assist them on their journey for the past decade. We are launching this program to expand our support from personal back to national and International. This very special group of people is a living example of King Solomon’s timeless words: ‘A time to destroy, a time to rebuild;’ we have so much to learn from them.”

The former residents are excited about the upcoming program and look forward to welcoming the visitors and speaking about their experiences and new lives.

“We’re delighted by the International Young Israel Movement’s initiative of bringing ten buses of visitors to tour the Katif Heritage Center in Nitzan and visit renewed Gush Katif communities. We’re convinced that this tour will strengthen their feelings of partnership with the people of Gush Katif and make clear that this… must never happen again,” remarked Dror Vanunu, International Coordinator of The Gush Katif Committee.

“It’s wonderful to see so many people coming to learn about Gush Katif,” stated Shifra Shomron, of the Friends of Gush Katif Public Relations Department. “Ten years later, we still have a long path ahead of us, but we’re rebuilding our homes and our lives and thank everyone helping us in keeping the heritage of Gush Katif alive.”

Registration is now open. Please contact 10buses@iyim.org.il or refer to the International Young Israel Movement website at http://www.iyim.org.il/10buses for details and sign-up information.

Bus Dates:

o Thursday, July 16
o Monday, July 20
o Wednesday, July 22
o Friday, July 24
o Monday, July 27
o Wednesday, July 29

o Monday, Aug 3
o Wednesday, Aug 5
o Monday, Aug 10
o Wednesday, Aug 12

Hamas ‘Tax’ Revenue from Israeli Imports: NIS 175,000,000

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Despite was what supposed to have been a complete disengagement from Gaza, and the Gazan’s direct border crossing with Egypt, Israel still remains the preferred, and sometimes the only choice for Gazans who want to import and export goods and merchandise.

And Hamas terrorists are making a tidy sum off that trade, according to a Makor Rishon report.

After Israel completely evacuated all the Jews from Gaza and Gush Katif in 2005, the Palestinian Authority took over. But in 2007, Hamas violently took over the Gaza strip, slaughtering their political opponents.

Since the terrorist organization’s coup Hamas has been the primary terror group in charge of the Gaza Strip.

Despite Hamas, civilian trade with Israel still continued.

In 2014, 61,000 trucks passed through the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to Gaza. That crossing is located in southern Gaza near Rafah. There is also trade that goes through the northern Erez crossing.

During Operation Protective Edge, over 130,000 tons of merchandise crossed into Gaza. 15% of Israeli fruit are exported to Gaza.

Gaza has also recently begun exporting produce to Judea and Samaria, and 40 trucks have already passed into Israel in the past few months.

This past week, Kibbutz Yad Mordechai held an agricultural conference in which farmers and distributors from Gaza participated – in Israel.

Gazan importers are looking for even lower prices than they get now, and during the conference it came out why.

Gazan importers must pay protection money to Hamas of between 50 to 100 shekels per ton, on products imported from Israel.

And that’s just to start off with.

In addition, each truck that passes into Gaza is charged a fee.

Canned goods and potatoes are charged an additional 1800 shekels per truck, trucks carrying coffee pay Hamas 2500 shekels per truck, and each truck transporting clothing into Israel pays 4000 shekels to Hamas.

It’s estimated that Hamas’s 2014 “tax” revenue from Israeli imports stands at 175 million shekels ($45 million dollars). You can build a lot of terror tunnels and rockets with that kind of money.

Hamas also takes a cut from the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and the Sinai.

The Gazans said that before the war this past summer their economic situation was difficult, but now everything is collapsing.

At the conference, the Gazans said they missed Gush Katif and working with the Jewish Settlers.

One Gazan at the conference said, “We worked there with the Jews [from Gush Katif] and everything was good.” He continued, “We’re still in contact with them, and dream of those bygone days. Now there is no hope. My children want candy, but there isn’t any money to buy them any. My son wants to get married. I look to the sky and pray, because I know that I can’t help them.”

One wouldn’t be wrong if you thought many Gazans want the IDF to kick Hamas out, and for the Jews come back home — to Gush Katif.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-tax-revenue-from-israeli-imports-nis-175000000/2015/01/02/

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