Gush Katif evictees, viewing the Israel Defense Forces' most recent operation in Gaza as proof that the 2005 Disengagement was a severe tactical error on Israel's part, are asking to return to their former land. At a Sunday press conference, representatives of the former Jewish communities in Gaza called to reestablish the settlements that had been destroyed.
"We strenuously request to correct the error, to recreate Gush Katif and allow us to return to our homes. Our return will mitigate the security disaster and moral disaster that the architects of the eviction brought upon us and the state," representatives said.
"Our objective is the good of the state of Israel. Today, anyone who wants to protect southern Israel must settle in Gaza. (Settlement) is not a dirty word," said Aharon Tzur, a former head of the Gush Katif region council.
Yossi Dagan, leader of the Homesh First organization - a grassroots organization dedicated to the idea of rebuilding the evacuated northern Samaria settlement – and a participant in the press conference, outlined a resettlement plan.
"First, we demand to return to Netzarim, to the northern part of Gaza and to the Philadelphi Route, later to all of the former settlements," he said.
"As long as soldiers are fighting we will not point the finger of blame, but when it ends, people who took part in the eviction will need to answer to the nation of Israel," Dagan added.
Resettling by the bookReuven Rosenblatt, another Gush Katif regional council former head, emphasized that the settlers want to return to their homes legally, adding that "once we get permission, we could have people back in the area within a day, even if it requires living in tents. We could do it from today to tomorrow."
Rosenblatt blamed the severity of the situation on former governments. "Had the government responded as it is doing today to the first mortar attack on Gush Katif, it would have been possible to halt the enemy in its tracks," he said.
That not being the case, the settlers say they are willing to suffer for the good of the nation. "We would ensure there would be quiet in the south, even if it meant we would be the occasional target," Tzur said.
"We're willing to take this upon ourselves and serve as the front," said Mazal Hanniah, a former resident of Neve Dekalim. Rina Ackermann, whose two boys are soldiers and whose husband was called up for reserves duty added, "our sons who are in Gaza are willing to retake the region, despite the mistake that was made."
The settlers attempted to get out their message in more ways than one. A side of a bus read: "There is a solution – returning Gush Katif. Expanding communities in Judea and Samaria."