Rally at Kissufim
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

4 years since pullout: Evacuees want to return to Gush Katif

'Bring the people of Israel back to Gush Katif' rally held near Kissufim crossing; former settlers bemoan Israeli unilateral withdrawal from Strip, say 'abandoned' by State

Some 2,000 people took part Tuesday in a rally near the Kissufim crossing to mark four years since Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.


Most of the participants were former Gush Katif settlers who were evacuated as part of the Disengagement.


"I feel a sense of loss that was brought upon us by Hamastan," Yesha Council Director-General Pinchas Wallerstein said during the rally, entitled "Bring the people of Israel back to Gush Katif."


"The State abandoned us. There is not one evacuee who makes a living or is living in a permanent home, and this is our failure," he said.  

'We were forced to leave.' Evacuee rally (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)


According to statistics presented by the Gush Katif Committee, the majority of evacuees have yet to begin work on a permanent home, and initial infrastructure works have yet to commence at 48% of the communities earmarked for the evacuees.


The unemployment rate among the evacuees stands at 21%, particularly in the Ashkelon and Nitzan areas, the data showed.


Ophir Briner, formerly of the Atzmona settlement in Gaza, said the government acted "cruelly" in the aftermath of what he referred to as the "expulsion."


Briner said he tells his young children, "We lived in Gush Katif, which is a part of the Land of Israel. We were forced to leave, and now we are waiting to return."


Among the few Knesset members who attended the rally was Uri Ariel (National Union), who said hundreds of evacuee families were still residing in temporary dwellings. "This situation is intolerable. I say to the government: Make good on your promise."


A recent survey conducted by the Maagar Mochot Research Institute for the Gush Katif Committee found that 68% of Israelis regret their past support for the Disengagement, as opposed to 22% who said they did not regret it.


The poll also showed that 66% of Israelis believe the government's treatment of the evacuees is "poor," but 54% said Gush Katif should not be resettled. Only 19% of the respondents were in favor of resettling the area.  


פרסום ראשון: 07.28.09, 23:07
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