Gush Katif evacuees gathered in the parking lot near the Kissufim crossing Tuesday to say goodbye to Gaza for the last time, one month after Israel's disengagement.
The rally was held several meters from the border crossing, the exact place where settlers would have their ID checked each time they wanted to enter Gush Katif.
The road is now blocked by policemen, and this time the residents were not permitted to cross the border.
Friends and neighbors gathered in the parking lot, songs were sung and slogans were shouted. Later, photos of life in Gush Katif were displayed.
Tears and smiles, mixed emotions, were what everyone agreed upon. Former Gaza Beach Regional Council Head Avner Shimoni lowered the flag to half mast and wished the crowds a happy new year.
Many of those attending the rally met with their friends for the first time since the evacuation. The question "where are you?" echoed in the air.
A happy new year in Gaza?
Among those who met for the first time since the withdrawal were 17-year-olds Avital and Moran. At the end of the day, Avital returned to Ashkelon and Moran to Jerusalem.
The two girls wished for the New Year that they may return and meet again in their home in Gush Katif.
"The children don't know anything else," former Netzer Hazani resident Raz Shneid said.
"We, the adults, knew life before Gush Katif. Our children did not, and so it is great for them to see all these people here," she said. "I wanted to enter the Kissufim crossing and not stand in this humiliating place, but they would not let us."
Once the evacuees arrived at the symbolic southern town, a movie was screened documenting the evacuees' journey from their homes in the Gaza Strip. The names of the families and photos of the synagogues were also displayed.
Kfar Maimon residents lit torches in remembrance of Gush Katif and held a sign saying, "I pledge allegiance to Gush Katif."
"Most of us feel that we'll return within five years. We'll return because it's our home," one evacuee said.
"We don't know how we'll return, but it's an internal feeling."