This Week in Israeli History: Last Residents of Gush Katif Evicted, Guy Hever MIA and Emmanuel Moreno

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons; Yakob Ben-Avraham)
Gush Katif
Although there has been Jewish presence in Gaza dating back to ancient times, the first modern settlement was established in 1930 when an affluent man named Tuvia Miller purchased and built up the village of Kfar Darom. However, due to the violence caused by the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, Jews were forced to flee.
In 1946, Jews again returned to the land and built up communities, only to leave again in 1948 when Egypt seized the Gaza Strip following the War of Independence.
After the miraculous victory of the Six Day War, Jews once again returned to the land and established what is known as Gush Katif - a bloc of 17 Israeli towns located in the Gaza Strip. During the First and Second Intifada, the residents of Gush Katif bore the brunt of the Arab hostility; including stoning, suicide bombings, and thousands of rockets fired onto their towns.
In 2005, the Israeli Government led by Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and to remove its 8,600 citizens from Gush Katif. The decision, in what came to be known as the “Disengagement” or “Expulsion,” was met with harsh opposition both by the people and many in the government, but was carried out in the Summer of 2005. On August 22, 2005, the last residents of Gush Katif were removed.
The decision to remove, and in many cases forcibly evacuate, the residents of Gush Katif remains one of the most debatable actions that the government has carried out in recent history.
Guy Hever
Guy Hever is an Israeli soldier that has been missing in action for 18 years.
He was last seen on his military base in the Golan Heights on August 17, 1997, before exiting the camp dressed in his army uniform and carrying his Galil rifle.
In the time following Guy’s disappearance, speculations arose that he disappeared on his own accord due to a strife with his commanding officer; however, as time went on and neither his body or rifle were recovered, the possibility that Guy was captured and was being held in Syria became more likely.
In 2005, a German living in Israel was apprehended during her visit in Syria and claimed to have met a Hebrew-speaking man matching Guy’s description during her interrogation. Two years later an unknown and possibly fictional Syrian organization released a statement insinuating that they were holding Guy captive, but the claims were never substantiated.
Guy’s parents and two siblings, along with the entire country, are still hoping and praying for his return.
Emmanuel Moreno - “An Elite Force Within An Elite Force”
Emmanuel Moreno is known as one of the best soldiers to have ever served in the IDF. The former Commander of Sayeret Matkal, Israel's most elite unit, said about Moreno: “If the IDF is the best military in the world, and Sayeret Matkal is the best unit in the IDF, and Emmanuel is the best soldier in the unit, then Emmanuel is the best soldier in the world.”
Lieutenant Colonel Moreno participated in so many covert missions that the IDF has not released his photo to the public for reasons of national security until this day.
It is told by his father that after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, Moreno, who was a French native and fluent Arabic speaker, walked into the Gaza Strip by himself and reported back to the Israeli intelligence where Shalit was being held.
On August 19, 2006, Emmanuel was killed in action while leading his soldiers deep into Hezbollah territory during the Second Lebanon War. Thousands came to his funeral at Mount Herzl to pay respects.