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by Dror Vanunu


Background: In August 2005, after a moral, political, and social struggle which tore at the fabric of Israeli society and nearly caused a civil war, the Government of Israel unilaterally uprooted the 21 blossoming settlements of Gush Katif and the four settlements in the Northern Samaria. In addition, army camps and military apparatus were removed and new positions set up precisely on the Green Line.

The Declared Aims of the Plan were:

  1. Facilitating the Peace Process: The prevailing thought was that all friction between the Arab population and the Jewish residents and army would cease by the removal of the Jewish communities. In so doing, the Arab population would no longer seek to harm Israel resulting in quiet in the southern region.

  2. The Palestinian Economy: The expectation in transferring the settlement lands, including their infrastructure and many public buildings, was to create high potential in the area and improve the economic-situation of the Arab population. This, it was believed, would induce employment rather than acts of terror. Creating a positive atmosphere would make it possible to renew the Peace Process.

  3. Legal Motives: the Disengagement process transferred the entire Gaza area to Palestinian independent control rendering the Arab population self sufficient and responsible for their own welfare. Israel would no longer be responsible for the Palestinians of Gaza.

  4. International Status: Israel believed that these unilateral steps would strengthen her International position as a peace-seeking country willing to make dramatic steps in order to break the political stagnation. USA President Bush, in recognition of Prime Minister Sharon's Disengagement plan, gave a letter of commitment to support Israel, on the Right of Return, leaving blocks of settlements in Israel, and not negotiating before the terrorist organizations were destroyed

The Price Israel Paid:



The State of Israel has spent about 23.5 billion shekels ($6.35 billion dollars) on the Disengagement and its aftermath.


Israeli security was abandoned and the Gaza Strip turned into "Hamastan." This has allowed Iran to gain a foothold in Israel's southern border.


Despite the drastic steps Israel took when she disengaged from 21 settlements and withdrew her forces to the 1967 border, the countries of the world, the United Nations, Human Rights movements all see Israel legally responsible for the situation of the Gazan population.

The Goldstone Report, which the United Nations published following defensive actions Israel took after numerous rocket attacks targeted the citizens of Israel, completely ignored Israel's long restraint and found Israel guilty of war crimes.


Israel's status became shaky following Disengagement. The world and close friends of Israel view the retreat from Gaza as a tease for further retreats from Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.

In consequence of this process there has been the complete de-legitimatization of the State of Israel; the Jews are viewed as temporary conquerors not only in Judea and Samaria, but in all of Israel.

"The flotilla of terror" - the obvious outcome of the world image of Israel as a State who places a blockade on the Gaza Strip. "Humanitarian" flotillas and Muslim fanatics are joining them in order to harm Israel. These actions have led to Israel's isolation in the world arena and a sharp decline in her international status.

The Palestinians:

The Palestinians view The Disengagement as a sign of Israeli weakness and recognition that "Jews understand only strength." In other words, what they didn't get through years of negotiations they will receive 100% through resistance. This assumption led, in January 2006, to a Hamas victory in democratic elections four months after Disengagement.

The Palestinians claimed that the evacuated settlements provide housing solutions for their "refugees." De facto, terror centers have been established on the ruins of Gush Katif and a Hamas training camp has been erected in the Neve Dekalim industrial area.

How did it Affect Gush Katif People?

In August 2005, 10,111 Jews from Gush Katif and North Samaria were expelled from their homes and their thriving communities. Despite promises from the state of Israel, nothing had been prepared in the way of providing adequate solutions for the Gush Katif people. Directly following a the uprooting, the majority of the population had to stay in pre temporary solutions such as tent cities, dormitories, and hotels up to a year. An overwhelming majority,80%, of the population lost their jobs and businesses rendering them unemployed.

An air of uncertainty adversely affected various parts of life including the educational stability of youths which resulted in significant educational gaps. The financial situation of more than 500 families has significantly worsened over time with many families using their monies for daily existence - "eating the compensation" - instead of saving it to purchase a house.

The governmental Commission of Inquiry headed by Judge Eliyahu Matza investigated the failure of the Israeli government to provide appropriate solutions for the people from Gush Katif. "This is the most severe violation of human rights in the history of Israel," stated Professor Yedidya Stern himself a member of the inquiry.

5 Years after Disengagement:

1. Permanent Communities:

2. Communities and families:

3. Agriculture:

4. Businesses

5. Employment

The rate of unemployment among the people of Gush Katif is 18% (with higher figures in the areas of Nitzan and Ashkelon); whereas, in Gush Katif the rate stood at a mere 5%. Today, the only organization seeking solutions for the employment issues is JobKatif. Their activity, was based solely on contributions until last year. A year ago an agreement was reached with the government who finances only 50% of JobKatif's activity.

Our main challenges:


Dror Vanunu is with the Gush Katif Committee. Contact them at their website: or by mail at Ahuzat Etrog, P.O. Box 450, Zip code: 79411, Israel.

Reach the Friends of Gush Katif, Inc. at P.O.Box1184, Teaneck NJ 07666 or by phone at 1-800-410-1502 or by email at


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