Browse By

The disasters that Israel’s expulsion of the Gush Katif Jews in Gaza have brought to this country

ShowImag1eOPPONENTS OF the disengagement plan from Gaza confront Border Police at the synagogue in the settlement of Kfar Darom in August 2005.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza 10 years ago was a strategic disaster. But it could have been much more devastating if the ideologues behind it had had their way.

Formally, the withdrawal was supposed to do two things. It was supposed to strengthen Israel’s diplomatic position vis-à-vis the US and Europe by demonstrating Israel’s commitment to Palestinian statehood, and it was supposed to enhance Israel’s security by redeploying the IDF along more defensible lines.

Neither argument for the withdrawal was particularly plausible. But due to the media’s lockstep support for it, neither was seriously challenged.

The truth is, these justifications were never anything more than a smoke screen to hide the true purpose of the withdrawal from the public. The real purpose of the withdrawal from Gaza was to deal a strategic blow to Zionism and the Jewish character of the state.

The destruction of those communities – and the expulsion of the 350,000 Jews who live in them – was also not an end unto itself. For the leftist ideologues who invented the idea of unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza, destroying the settlement enterprise is a necessary precondition for destroying religious Zionism.

And religious Zionism has to be destroyed in order to destroy Zionism.

This true purpose of the Gaza withdrawal was made clear by leftist ideologues in the months that preceded the withdrawal.

For instance, Haaretz published an editorial a month before the withdrawal explaining, “The real question is not how many mortar shells will fall, or who will guard the Philadelphi Route [between Gaza and Egypt], or whether the Palestinians will dance on the roofs of [the destroyed communities].

“The real question is who sets the national agenda. The disengagement of Israeli policy from its religious fuel is the real disengagement currently on the agenda. On the day after the disengagement, religious Zionism’s status will be different.”

As the leftist ideologues perceived things, it wasn’t enough to simply kick the settlers out of their homes and destroy their communities. They had to be humiliated and made to suffer in order to ensure that no one would dare to identify with them.

As a consequence, when the idea of building a new settlement for the evacuees in southern Israel was floated a few months before the withdrawal, the Left firmly opposed it.

Haaretz columnist Avirama Golan explained that doing so would empty the expulsions of political significance.

In her words, “Transferring the evacuees from Gush Katif to a brand new neighborhood built especially for them along the beautiful strip of Nitzanim transmits a problematic implicit message. This is a message that says to the Jewish settlers in the territories: ‘You are a chosen group. You will not be like all the other Israelis.’ If this is what the government does in the evacuation of Gush Katif, the main sting of the evacuation of the settlements will be neutralized. It will be as though nothing has been done.”

The goal of the Left in destroying the Jewish communities, and indeed the goal of the so-called peace movement was laid out explicitly in November 2013 by Ron Pundak, Yossi Beilin’s partner in negotiating the Oslo Accords with the PLO in 1993.

In an interview with the International Crisis Group Pundak explained, “Peace is not an objective by itself. It is a way to transition Israel from one era to another: to an era of what I consider is a normal state. Israelization of society rather than its judaization.”

Demonization and disenfranchisement were key components of the Left’s campaign against Jewish Israel. For the withdrawal from Gaza to serve as a stepping stone toward a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, the public needed to become fully alienated from its fellow Israelis whose lives were being shattered.

Opinion-makers from Dan Margalit and Ari Shavit to Yair Lapid jumped on the anti-religious bandwagon and sought to outdo one another in stirring up irrational hatred for the 8,500 Jews of Gaza and their supporters.

Margalit called for the institution of a numerus clausus against religious Zionists serving in the IDF. Strict limits, he said, should be placed on the number of religious Israelis permitted to serve as officers.

Lapid insisted that the settlers were not his brothers and he wouldn’t have a problem going to war against them.

Shavit wrote that the settlers deserved no protection from the IDF, because as far as he was concerned, they weren’t Israelis.

Day after day the media machine spewed out hatred and derision against the Jews of Gaza. Day after day the public was told that religious Zionists were fanatics and potential terrorists.

The police, public prosecution and Supreme Court all joined the action. The civil rights of opponents of the withdrawal were trampled. Organizers of lawful protests were subjected to warrantless pre-dawn raids on their homes. Protesters, including children, were arrested without charge and often held in custody for months.

Police interdicted licensed buses en route to lawful demonstrations to prevent law-abiding citizens from protesting the planned expulsions.

Given the atmosphere of hatred that blanketed the country, as the expulsions approached, the Left had every reason to believe that it was on track to destroy its harshest ideological opponents and so remake Israel in its post-Zionist image.

Perhaps the most promising aspect of the expulsions, from the Left’s perspective, was that the IDF was tasked with carrying them out. Having the most beloved and revered institution in the country carry out the Left’s dirty work meant that any attempt by the settlers to defy the expulsion orders would be viewed by the public as an assault not on the Left, but on the army. And that would finish off whatever residual public sympathy for the settlers that the pre-expulsion demonization hadn’t successfully expunged.

But then someone gummed up the works.

Five months before the expulsions, then-IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon appointed Brig.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen to command the expulsions from Gush Katif.

Hacohen was a tank division commander appointed to the Northern Command. He was appointed because he was a prince of the national-religious community.

Hacohen’s grandfather had been one of the founders of Mizrahi, the religious-Zionist movement.

His father was one of the founders of the Gush Emunim settlement movement.


Click here for the Top 12 Moments in Jewish History...LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN! »


Join the over 1.4 million fans of Jews News on FB…It’s NOT news unless it’s Jews News!

Powered by WordPress Popup