The last private home left standing in Neve Dekalim was destroyed on Thursday, ending the Defense Ministry’ s Gush Katif home demolition operation, as the disengagement from Gaza drew to a close.
Home demolished in Pe'at Sadeh settlement (Photo: AFP)
At the same time, the IDF’s rabbinate completed its transfer of 48 graves from Gush Katif. The army has already withdrawn 95 percent of its military equipment from Gaza, and will complete the process in coming days.
In the coming weeks, the Shirat Hayam hotel,
used by right wing activists as a fortress against security forces recently, will be destroyed, marking the end of the clearance of settlements.
In total, some 2,530 homes were demolished in Gush Katif, and 270 residences were bulldozed in northern Samaria in the last week.
The IDF is planning on withdrawing all of its forces from Gaza by September 15, and transfer the area to Palestinian control.
Defense Ministry spokesman Levi Golan told Ynet that the work of destroying structures in Gaza finished earlier than expected.
“We in the ministry’s construction branch are used to building, not demolishing,” said Golan. “These days I hear the sounds of heavy machinery slamming into homes and wrecking them. I don’t think I’ll forget that sound for a very long time.”
Casket hauled out of Gush Katif (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Golan described how many homes had anti-disengagement graffiti written on walls, including swastikas, an accusation that caused upset amongst the demolition crews.
The demolition crews are waiting for instructions on how to proceed to deal with 22 synagogues that are left in Gush Katif. Golan said that two of the synagogues could be wholly relocated, but the rest must be destroyed. “We will carry out any operation given to us during this sensitive work,” he said.