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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gush Katif’

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.

Learning from Operation Protective Edge

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

For many, Operation Protective Edge served to highlight the security, the social resilience and the international media coverage issues Israel faces on a daily basis. This week (November 23, 2014) two conferences bravely took it on: Bar Ilan University’s School of Communication in conjunction with the Center for International Communication hosted “The Scholarly & Professional Convention on International Media Coverage of Operation Protective Edge” and The Institute for National Security Strategies (INSS) in conjunction with The Gush Katif Heritage Center hosted “Between Gush Katif and Operation Protective Edge.”

With an impressive array of high profile guest speakers and compelling topics of discussion, these conferences were well worth attending. The Bar Ilan convention focused on Israeli Public Diplomacy and the International Media during Operation Protective Edge. Since I’m convinced most of us consider Economy Minister Naftali Bennett to be the guy scoring the most points for Israel when it comes to the international media, it’s a pity he wasn’t one of the guest speakers. Bennett stands out so much because the international media coverage stinks so badly. However, as Prof. Eytan Gilboa rightly points out, this anti-Israel attitude has been going on for years. Gilboa’s solution is for Israel’s spokesmen to demand the journalists be professional and take responsibility for their utterances. Israel must continuously point out to the western world how biased their media coverage is.

We might all agree regarding the above issue, but there’s a variety of opinions when it comes to “Between Gush Katif and Operation Protective Edge.” In one interesting discussion, former Gush Katif Regional Council head Zvi Hendel pointed out that during Oslo, in the days of the armed Arab police force and the joint security training, the expectation had been for the Gush Katif population to dwindle; they thought people would leave. Instead, the population grew by 20% due to a happy combination of natural increase and new families coming to reside in Gush Katif. Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yellin responded that during Operation Protective Edge his region also continued to grow. The few families that left, he claimed, were those that had been renting for a year or two, and hadn’t become truly absorbed into the community. Additionally, Eshkol has received a major boost from the Gush Katif expellees who have founded new communities in the region.

Another fascinating discussion arose when an audience member asked the speakers their opinion about the Disengagement, and whether their opinion had changed following Operation Protective Edge. Earlier in the conference, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan had stated where he stood. This staunch Likudnik spoke feelingly of the door-to-door effort before the Likud referendum, and his disgust that PM Sharon had carried out a plan his party had voted against. Whereas, Haim Yellin’s didn’t like the Disengagement Plan due to its unilateral nature; he wished for an agreement, not to give away something and get nothing in return. Prefacing his answer by admitting that his views weren’t going to be very popular with the audience, Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council head Alon Shuster revealed that he’d been in favor of the Disengagement Plan and remained so today. He considers that Israel has the right to decide where to draw the borders, and that for moral reasons Israel shouldn’t be in Gaza.

And yet, if there’s no moral reason for Gush Katif, then there is no moral reason for the rest of Israel. Or as former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly put it, “the fate of Netzarim is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

Having destroyed Netzarim, we now need to work doubly hard to reclaim the Israeli narrative. I’m convinced we can do it, and the first step has already been achieved: realizing there’s a problem. Now let’s take steps to fix it.

Terror: US Pledges Support for Canada but Tells Israel to Stay Calm

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The Obama administration pledged its “full support” for Canada to “to hold those responsible” for Wednesday’s terrorist attack but told Israel “to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions.”

The different reactions say in a nutshell everything you need to know how the United States is feeding what Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called a “worldwide epidemic” of terrorism.

The Obama administration constantly maintains that if Israel simply would stop trying to survive as a Jewish state and hand over more than half of the country to the Palestinian Authority on an Islamic platter, there will no longer be a reason for Arab terrorists to exist.

When a terrorist attacks in Ottawa, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says, “We will continue to work closely with our Canadian colleagues to ensure the safety of all our people, and together to counter violent extremism in North America and elsewhere around the world.”

When a terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, Kerry does not even bother to put his name on the press release. He dictates to Spokeswoman Jen Psaki to say, “We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”

The United States condemned both attacks, of course.

“We condemn today’s heinous and evil attacks in Ottawa, seemingly aimed at the heart of the federal government itself. The United States has faced this kind of violence firsthand on our own soil, and we grieve with Canada, seared by the memory of our own painful experiences,” Kerry stated.

He even picked up the phone to speak with Canadian Foreign Minister Baird “to express our deepest condolences on this tragic day, and to pledge the full support of the United States to Canada as it works to determine the facts and to hold those accountable responsible.”

In response to the murder of a three-month-old baby, an American-Israeli, Psaki stated, “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured.

“We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”

That’s it. No support for the Israeli government “to determine the facts and to hold those accountable responsible.”

No statement that the United States “will continue to work closely with our Israeli colleagues to ensure the safety of all our people, and together to counter violent extremism in North America and elsewhere around the world.”

The United States did not call on “all sides” in Canada “to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions.”

The State Dept. simply cannot condemn terror in Israel without sticking a knife in the victims’ backs.

“Maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions?” What does that mean?

It means, “Don’t get tough with terrorists. Let’s talk about it. Let’s agree that if the Palestinian Authority would be established as a country in place of Judea, Samaria and half of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter, terror would go away, just like it went away when Israel expelled every last Jew and withdrew every Israeli soldier from Gush Katif and northern Gaza nine years ago.

Oh, were there a few thousand missiles attacks from Gaza on Israel since then? No worry. There now is a cease-fire while Hamas re-arms.

“Maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions” – is that what the Obama would have said if the terrorist had struck in Washington?

And want is this “all sides” business?

Official Palestinian Authority media day in and day out educate Arabs that every inch of the Land of Israel will be Palestine and incite youth to “resist” by becoming martyrs. So how does Psaki come up with this shpiel for “all sides to maintain calm.”

The Top 5 Ways You Can Help Gush Katif Expellees!

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

As we’re thinking ahead and making our New Year resolutions, here are 5 easy ways to help the Zionist pioneering citizens formerly of Gush Katif rebuild their lives destroyed in the 2005 Disengagement Plan.

1. Buy orange. Help the Gush Katif expellees by purchasing quality products from Gush Katif: insect-free produce, organic pomegranate wine, olive oil, beautiful artwork and jewelry, books, puzzles and games. The Gush Katif expellees’ population has a higher unemployment rate than the average in Israel, and this is a great way of encouraging those who’ve returned to the work force and opened small businesses.

2. Visit the Katif Heritage Center in Nitzan. This Center tells the history of Gush Katif – its growth, destruction, and building anew. Thanks to technology, one truly travels back in time: once again joining hands in the Israeli chain and experiencing the struggles that Gush Katif residents faced. Feel their pain as the soldiers stream through the community gates and uproot them from their homes. A visit to the Katif Visitor Center shows our spirit and resiliency.

3. Gift a tax-deductable donation. Your generous donations allow us, the Gush Katif Committee, to promote vital Gush Katif projects for the new communities. These include helping needy families, rebuilding vital community structures such as synagogues and youth centers, and providing the synagogues with all their necessary furnishings.

4. Tell your family and friends. Gush Katif is relevant! Operation Protective Edge and its aftermath have made it increasingly clear that we must keep the words ‘Gush Katif’ on our lips to prevent any politician from considering further withdrawals. Remember Gush Katif –may we merit to return.

5. Tour the new Gush Katif communities. Visiting Israel? Living in Israel and looking for a fun family tour? Hire a licensed Gush Katif, private tour guide! Whether you’re headed north, south, or center, there’s a friendly new Gush Katif community waiting to be explored!

May we all be inscribed and sealed in the book of life for a healthy and happy New Year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-top-5-ways-you-can-help-gush-katif-expellees/2014/09/28/

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