The Gaza disengagement was a national tragedy, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
said Tuesday at a special Knesset meeting marking eight years since the
“My heart still aches when I remember Gush Katif [Jewish
settlements in Gaza] and all of its men, women, youth, children. They
loved life, their synagogues were full, as were their schools and greenhouses,”
said Edelstein, who opposed the disengagement as a Likud MK at the
“A whole world was destroyed before our eyes, and we looked on with
disbelief,” he added. “I honestly believe this is a national tragedy that has
yet to come to its end.”
MK Zvulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi), who was
evacuated from the Gaza settlement Atzmona, was brought to tears during the
“It’s not easy for me to stand here today, where
years ago people voted to authorize the expulsion of my family and friends from
Gush Katif and northern Samaria, but I am here out of responsibility and
partnership with my friends from the Gush,” Kalfa explained.
“I have no
doubt that I am in the Knesset as a representative of Gush Katif and I will act
to strengthen settlements throughout Israel and fight any plan to evacuate Jews
from their homes.”
Kalfa pointed out that some of the goals of the
disengagement were to bring security, reduce friction with the population of
Gaza and invalidate claims that Israel is responsible for the Palestinians in
“The disengagement was a strategic error of the first degree, which
led to Hamas’s victory and encouraged terror. It only fed the
Palestinian’s fight,” he stated.
Kalfa added that he has “no doubt we
will return. It will take time, but we’ll be back [in Gush Katif].”
God’s help we will remember and return,” said Construction and Housing Minister
Uri Ariel, who wears an orange bracelet every day to remember the
“We’re sick of telling everyone who voted for the
[disengagement] plan ‘I told you so.’ Many people voted in favor. What didn’t
you understand? That if we leave, there would be rockets in Tel Aviv?” The Bayit
Yehudi minister criticized MKs who voted for the disengagement, saying that none
of them are willing to admit their mistake.
“Some didn’t learn and are
trying to sell us the delusion of two states for two nations,” Ariel added. “Our
No. 1 citizen [President Shimon Peres] says that one state between the Jordan
River and the sea is a fantasy, but [I say] two states for two nations is the
greatest fairy tale ever told.”
Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud
Beytenu) said that he initiated the Knesset discussion of the disengagement
because it was not only an injustice and a security risk, it was a moral
“This cannot become a distant memory. We must remember it and
check ourselves when we talk about peace, about concessions and about
evacuations,” he stated.
Levin criticized High Court judges, saying they
use “phony, lying, post-Zionist talk of human rights” to remove people from
their homes without care for their rights.
“Suddenly, the High Court’s
principles disappeared, because rights weren’t important, rather, who was asking
for [the] rights mattered,” he said.
Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who voted for
the disengagement, said the government’s treatment of Gaza evacuees was
“unacceptable” and called for the government not to undertake any more
Yesh Atid faction leader Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid)
said the disengagement was positive because it removed Israelis from occupied,
“The decision to disengage was positive, but it happened
without properly educating the public,” Shelah stated. “Our democratic power led
the government to act on its plan and prove that a leader has the power to make
MK Taleb Abu Arar (UALTa’al) said that “whoever wants peace
must stop building settlements,” and expressed concern that, like the evacuees
from Gush Katif, Beduin removed from their homes as a result of the Prawer Plan
will not be properly compensated.
Earlier Tuesday, Edelstein, Levin and
Bayit Yehudi MKs Orit Struck and Mordechai Yogev visited a new photo exhibit
installed in one of the Knesset’s halls.
The exhibit features photos of
Gush Katif before and during the disengagement, as well as the protests against
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