Sunday, July 29, 2012

Seven Years after Gush Katif - No, It's Not Fine

It's Tisha B'Av.
My family went to synagogue to read Eicha (Lamentations). The Jewish people have plenty over which to lament - from the first major Tisha B'Av disaster (the sin of the spies in the desert) up through the destructions of the Holy Temples, the Spanish Inquisition, and most recently the Destruction of Gush Katif and Northern Shomron and the Expulsion of Jews from their homes.
On my way to sleep, I decided to check the news. Nothing special. IDF Home Front Command's Search and Rescue soldiers are training for chemical warfare. Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz said that attacking Iran could be catastrophic for Israel. The CIA says Israel is breaking into the homes of CIA agents in Israel. Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has landed in Israel.
Regular day of news.
Then I saw a message from my niece. "On Tisha B'Av, remember the destruction of Gush Katif. Watch this movie - UNSETTLED - Documentary on the Disengagement from Gaza."
Looking at the Expulsion from the eyes of settler, soldier and politician, it is done in such a true-life human manner without anyone banging your head with messages, it doesn't seem like a documentary.Up-close, personal, compelling, excellent! Directed by Joel Blasberg and Oreet Rees, produced by Arnold Peltz and Joel Blasberg, it is also magnificently filmed and edited.
In addition to the interviews done with the subjects of the documentary, the film brings us right up close to the interactions between soldier and settler at the moment of the Expulsion. We hear their dialogue, their thought processes, their reasoning, their arguing.
"It will be fine," the soldiers told the sobbing residents of Gush Katif as their were being thrown out of their homes. "It will be fine."
Question to the Soldiers of the "Disengagement"
So, I'd like to ask a question to those soldiers who participated in the Expulsion, who said, "Don't worry. Everything will be fine." What do you think now seven years later when half of Gush Katif residents still live in refugee camps in paper-thin caravillot and a third haven't even been able to begin building their future homes yet. Is everything fine?
Soldiers who participated in the Expulsion and said, "Don't worry, everything will be fine," what part of families running into sewer pipes for shelter during a missile attack is fine?
Soldiers who said everything will be fine, what do you think now seven years later when unemployment is 14% high among Gush Katif families, and would be much higher except for the fact that Gush Katifers want to be productive, and have even taken jobs below their abilities in order just to work?
Soldiers who said everything will be fine, what do you think about all the marriages that have broken up, the illnesses that have developed, and the older teens who are now at-risk because of the results of the Disengagement?
And what do you think of the thousands of missiles that have been fired upon Israel from the Gaza Strip, from the former sites of Gush Katif community?
Soldiers who said everything will be fine, and commanders who told them to say it, just which part of all of this is fine?

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  1. What was it like to simultaneously live under the shadow of Arab terror and government edict to forcibly remove and destroy the Jewish Gush Katif communities? What was daily life like leading up to the dispossession and destruction from Gush Katif? Read Shifra Shomron's testimonial book, "Grains of Sand The Fall of Neve Dekalim" to get a more personal understanding and journey back into Gush Katif. Book details at

  2. Thanks so much for sending the Gush Katif film. It was very special though I could have lived without being called "colonialists" and being criticized for being "messianics" who want a religious state. We should be praised for it...or it should have been edited out.
    I will pass it around too.
    Gush Katif is another in our long line of Jewish tragedies. Like many other G-d sent warnings we have as a nation failed to learn and assimilate the lessons.
    It has only further distanced us from peace and redemption...a giant desecration of G-d's name.
    May G-d have mercy on us His chosen people lost, leaderless despairing.

  3. Avi, I agree that some of the comments rubbed me the wrong way also, but they were the personal beliefs of those who spoke. And although in hindsight we know how foolish they were, at the time who knew which way the wind would blow?

  4. Avi, it's important to include comments that present the view of people who were in favor of the Expulsion. Seven years later anyone honest can see how erroneous their predictions were, and how foolhardy it would be to support more expulsions.
    Thousands of people saw which way the wind would blow. A Gush Katif committee produced a CD, which I still have, that includes a segment filmed in Nisanit (I think. It was definitely one of the communities in the northern segment of the Gaza Strip.) with the power plant in Ashkelon in the background. As predicted, the power station became a target of the terrorists' missiles and has been hit many times. It is truly a miracle that no-one was injured in the attacks. That is only one example of the many warnings given before the Expulsion.
    Shifra, we're still proud of you! Grains of Sand is a powerful reminder of, or introduction to, depending on who you are, Gush Katif.
    Hadassa DeYoung, K'far Darom