On March 21, the Knesset plenum approved by a vote of 31 to 18 the 2005 Disengagement Law that decreed the expulsion of close to 10,000 Jews from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria. At the time, the implications of this legislation were rather humble, resulting in efforts to return the residents of four settlements in northern Samaria to their homes – efforts that clashed with the IDF brass’s view that resettling the Jews would only provoke the local Arabs who were already in a bad mood over being, you know, under Israeli rule and everything.
Needless to say, the world changed on October 7, and with it that IDF notion of itself as a force intended to block Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to allow a future Palestinian state.
And so, according to an Israel Hayom report on Wednesday, Likud MK Amit Halevi has submitted an amendment to the revocation law to permit the free movement of Israelis up and down the Gaza Strip. These are heady times, folks.
In the explanatory notes accompanying his bill, MK Halevi wrote: “It is absolutely out of the question that the War on Gaza concludes with any kind of Palestinian rule. Radical Islam’s most tangible loss is losing control over the land, and that must be the result. Therefore, the first step the Knesset must take is to revoke the law according to which entry into Gaza is prohibited to Jews.”
The right in Israel has been greatly disturbed by American pressure to reinstate the Palestinian Authority in Gaza at the end of the war, as part of renewed peace talks aimed at adopting the two-state solution. Many have cited PA leaders, including Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who praised the Hamas atrocities against Israelis on October 7.
Incidentally, Shtayyeh declared on Monday that if Israel topples Hamas, the Palestinian Authority will not go back to governing the territory unless there’s a comprehensive solution involving Judea and Samaria as well.
When the Disengagement Law was revoked in March it generated fierce criticism from the Biden administration, but Netanyahu, who did his best to block it, couldn’t. On the issue of Jews returning from their exile to Gaza, Netanyahu has stressed more than once that he is not interested. Or, as he put it, “Israel is not interested.”
Gush Katif was a bloc of 17 Israeli communities, most of them in the southern Gaza Strip.
Jews lived in Gaza since Biblical times. The author of “Ya Ribon Olam” Rabbi Yisrael Najara lived in Gaza, as did the great Kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Azoulai. Nathan of Gaza prophesied the arrival of the false messiah Sabbatai Zevi in the 1700s. The Jews were removed from Gaza by the British government in 1929, to protect them from the Arab riots. Kfar Darom’s land was purchased in the 1930s and was settled in 1946, only to be evacuated in fear of the Egyptian army siege in 1948 – and after it was resettled in 1968, there came one of Israel’s most corrupt prime ministers, Ariel Sharon, and kicked them all out again.
And, of course, there was Samson (Judges 16): “The Gazites learned that Samson had come there, so they gathered and lay in ambush for him in the town gate the whole night; and all night long they kept whispering to each other, ‘When daylight comes, we’ll kill him.’ But Samson lay in bed only till midnight. At midnight he got up, grasped the doors of the town gate together with the two gateposts, and pulled them out along with the bar. He placed them on his shoulders and carried them off to the top of the hill that is near Hebron.”
So, yes, by all means, let’s resettle Gaza!