An Israeli opponent of Israel's disengagement plan from Gaza mourns before evacuation in the Jewish Gaza Strip settlement of Kfar Darom.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
“The lesson learned from Israel’s disengagement from Gaza is that such moves should not be made unilaterally,” opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said Tuesday at a Knesset event to mark 11 years since dismantling all 17 Israeli settlements in Gaza and four in the northern West Bank.
“It was important for me to come today to show that beyond our political differences we are all brothers. The challenge we faced then was a political challenge we had never faced before,” he said. Herzog’s Labor Party supported the 2005 disengagement led by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon and his Kadima Party, which he formed in the face of opposition to the plan by the Likud party which he had headed until then.
Several Likud and Bayit Yehudi MKs lamented the realization of the plan at Tuesday’s event, saying that 11 years on, Israel is still dealing with the repercussions.
“Eleven years have passed since thousands were displaced from their homes and surroundings without any purpose or justification; those years will not heal the deep rift created by the displacement,” said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who had opposed the withdrawal and was himself one of the evacuees. Edelstein lived in Moshav Gadid, in the heart of Gush Katif and described the inhabitants of the Gaza settlements as “idealists” and “salt of the earth.” He said no more land must be given up, but rather the settlements must be strengthened.
“Reconciliation or quiet have not yet been born in the place where people were uprooted.”
The disengagement was pronounced a “100 percent failure” by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi).
“I salute the parents and the youth who, despite fears of fracture among the settler population, continue to join the army and contribute to society as significantly as in the past,” he said.
“Our ideology is summed up with the words, ‘We shall remember and we shall return.’”
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