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Homesh pilgrimage on Independence Day
Photo: Reuters
Right-wing campaign: Returning to Homesh is answer to Qassams
Homesh First organization launches nation-wide campaign calling for a return to evacuated West Bank settlement, arguing that Qassam attacks prove that disengagement was a mistake
The Homesh First organization launched a nation-wide public relations campaign Sunday calling for a "Return to Homesh," one of the four West Bank settlements evacuated during the disengagement nearly two years ago.

 

The right-wing group argues that the deadly Qassam barrages coming from Gaza prove that Israel's withdrawal from the area was a strategic mistake.

 

Organization member Yossi Dagan told Ynet, "Today the public understands that returning to Homesh is the answer to Qassams."

 

The group's leaders have organized four pilgrimages to the former settlement in the northern West Bank: Two took place in December during Hanukkah, one was before Passover in April and the fourth was on Independence Day.

 

Now the organization has decided to widen their activities to reach more of the Israeli public. The campaign was launched with a large billboard posted on the Rokach junction on the Ayalon expressway which declares, 'Returning home to Homesh'.

 

The pilgrimage's organizers are targeting their campaign to both the political and public arenas. Activities and conferences in various cities have been organized for the upcoming period, aimed at explaining to the public the importance of reclaiming the evacuated settlement of Homesh.

 

"The public spirit fuels us with great optimism," Dagan said. "Today the public understands that the disengagement was a mistake. Even the residents of Tel Aviv must demand Homesh be reclaimed, so that God forbid what's happening in Sderot and the Gaza-perimeter communities won't happen in central Israel."

 

Yesha: Learn lessons of pullout 

The Yesha Council (the Council of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip) has not forgotten Homesh either. The council is organizing a massive rally in two weeks at the evacuated settlement. Yesha, which up until now has not taken part in the Homesh pilgrimages, is working to gather all the various right-wing groups underneath its leadership ahead of the mass protest, which is expected to take place with military authorization.

 

Yesha has been distributing brochures entitled, "Sobering up". The brochure portrays politicians, public figures and journalists, and reads: "In August 2005 the State of Israel carried out the disengagement, retreat and uprooting from Gush Katif and northern Samaria. No one bothered to provide explanations; the newspapers didn't demand them, and the complicated and painful operation set forth with no questions asked. Within days a whole world of life, colors, sounds, smells and sights was erased. A magnificent tower built upon 30 years of Zionism in Gush Katif was destroyed in the flourish of a bulldozer like it was a card tower.

 

"The experiment failed. Many of its planners and executers recognize the failure. Some admit it loud and clear…Terrorism was given an encouraging push from the south and all the way to Hizbullah in the north. Synagogues left in Gush Katif were burned and desecrated, the dead's eternal rest was disturbed. Was the result worth the price? Today, tragically late, it's being realized."

 

Under the headline "Never again!" the brochure wraps up with the following paragraph: "The sober words of this brochure are part of the disengagement process the Israeli public is undergoing, disengagement from the corrupt and sinister, disengagement from the sins of blindness, disengagement from the disengagement.

 

"The destruction of the Katif bloc and northern Samaria settlements is one of the worst crimes in the history of the Jewish nation, carried out by a Jewish leadership against its own people. But from the bottom of the abyss in which the State of Israel was submerged, we can only rise: Learn the lessons, and never let it happen again."

 

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