Less than a week after being emptied of all residents, Gush Katif is also being erased from official Israeli maps.
Tuesday, the Center for Israel Maps, the official housing ministry cartographer, began to update maps of southern Israel with a special designation just south of Ashkelon: "At press time (August, 2005), the Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip were being razed."
According to Chaim Sarbaro, director general of the Center, the process is a first.
"This is the first time I've had to remove the name of a town from the map of Israel," he said.
Just days ago, the residents of Gush Katif went about their lives. But a week after being removed from their homes, the army is well on its way to destroying all the homes and property left behind.
Interest in old maps
Along with the worldwide interest in the disengagement process, many people bought maps of Israel including Gush Katif.
"After selling out, we began to prepare the new map," said Sarbaro.
After the destruction is complete and Israel hands sovereignty to the Palestinians, the maps will once again be updated, and the names of Gush Katif towns will be removed, replaced with Arabic names if such new communities are built.
Country must remember
However, Sarbaro said the country must remember what has been lost.
"We must remember the names of the Israeli towns there," he said."We must remember that people lived there, that they had a life there."
The new maps are expected to go on sale in the coming days.