Now It's Official: Gush Katif Disengagement a Failure
I hate to say "As If," but now the Israeli government's investigative commission on the 2005 Gush Katif disengagement has just been revealed, and lo--wonder of wonders--it concludes that the evacuation of approximately 9,000 people from the Gush Katif communities in Gaza was a total governmental failure.
The state’s official investigative committee regarding the country’s treatment of the Gush Katif expellees has been issued, giving failing grades to the government. Gush Katif residents say they hope the report will lead to change,The so-called "disengagement," which was really a total evacuation and expulsion of citizens of Israel from territory that was captured in a defensive war which was completely built up by these citizens from merely sand dunes to thriving towns, with a thriving economy and successful, closely-knit communities. I will NOT use the term "settlers," because the truth is that the entire country of Israel has been built by settlers, who are citizens of Israel. Gush Katif was no different than Tel-Aviv or Rishon LeTziyon or Jerusalem.
It turns out that this 'disengagement' was a political decision, not a militarily strategic one, with--according to some former supporters--very little thought given to the future of the 'disengaged' or the consequences in general. Most of the uprooted families, close to 2,000, are still in temporary dwellings, and many of them have not been relocated to other jobs: the unemployment rate of these displaced families is high.
Instead of praising them, these people who developed the land, and had created something wonderful from the nothing they had moved to in Gaza, the government and army criminalized them--treated them as if they were in the wrong--and forced them out of homes they had built themselves, and which some of them had lived in for thirty years. Put yourself in their shoes: how do you think you would feel, if the U.S. government forced you out of your home which you had lived in for thirty years?
And militarily it also collapsed. Instead of a peaceful Arab-controlled area, a precursor to the 'bigger' Palestinian state to be created later, Gaza turned into a cesspool of terrorism, led by the terrorist organization Hamas, which rained kassam rockets on southern Israeli towns, especially Sderot.
So now, even those who initially were in favor of this plan are now admitting that they were very much mistaken. Many of them were idealistic in their hopes that Israel, by showing good faith in removing itself from territory which it had "occupied," as they put it, would convince the Arabs to move forward towards peace. Sometimes I truly believe that these supporters could not see the forest for the trees. They did not see the true reason behind the conflict, which is that the Arabs will simply not tolerate a Jewish Israel in their midst.
The enactment of the disengagement turns out to have been both a military and societal failure, which those who face the facts about the reasons for the Arab conflict, including yours truly, knew from day one. Here is some of what both military and non-military former supporters are saying now (from the Arutz Sheva article, linked above):
Maj.-Gen (ret.) Yiftah Ron-Tal, IDF ground forces commander at the time of the Disengagement: In the year preceding the Disengagement, the army trained mostly for dismantling communities, and that prevented it from preparedness for the war in Lebanon. The training for the Disengagement not only prevented preparedness for such a war, but dragged it away from the consensus as a people’s army. It is nearly certain that the excitement of those who led the decision and implementation of this is directly tied to the big failure in Lebanon…I still cannot understand how Israel gave up parts of its land willingly and with abandon, and how the residents connected to that land were turned into criminals, instead of raising their dedication as a banner of preserving the Jewish identity of the state of Israel.
- Kfar Chabad weekly, October 6, 2006
And from the 2004 Nobel Prize winner for chemistry:
Professor Aaron Ciechanover, 2004 Nobel Prize Laureate for Chemistry, vocal Disengagement advocate: I supported the idea of Disengagement last year, which seemed to me an act of unilateral volunteerism toward the Palestinians. I hoped our kindness would be returned, but I was mistaken. After our unilateral withdrawal we received only terrorism and more terrorism. The unilateral idea is bankrupt and along with it the party soap bubble of a party that was established on its basis.
- Yediot Acharonot, October 27, 2006
Yehoshua Sobol, author and prominent left-wing spokesperson and proponent of left-wing refusal to serve in the IDF: Nothing is being built there [in Gaza] these days. Nothing – nothing but destructive activities. This assumption, that it is enough or us to leave territory in order for the other side to stop its attacks has proven false…I do not want to see a situation where we once again fold, in Judea and Samaria, and the next day Kassam rockets begin to be fired on Kfar Saba, Raanana and Herzliya.Did you read that last one? Did you see the key element here? It is this: the assumption, that it is enough for us to leave territory in order the other side to stop its attacks, has proven FALSE...
- Reshet Bet, July 27, 2006
Do you think the Israeli government and the military will learn from its mistake? We have proven time and time again--like the fool who continues to beat his head against the wall, thinking that maybe next time the wall will break--that you can't trade land for peace. It doesn't work, and why? Because the truth is the Arab leaders in the region do not really want peace and do not really want another state, Palestinian or otherwise. What they want is plainly, for Israel to disappear. And that won't happen.
So maybe it's time for our strategy to change, don't you think?