Revisiting The Gaza Withdrawal, 10 Years Later

This year the Jewish fast day Tisha B’Av had special resonance for Israelis on the nationalist right: It marked 10 years since the evacuation of Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank.

On the Jewish calendar, the so-called disengagement was carried out the day after Tisha B’Av, on August 15, 2005. For Israel’s pro-settler faction, the fact that the event landed so close to the Jewish day of mourning lent it a mythic quality. It was, they argue, the sixth and most recent calamity to befall the Jewish people on or around the 9th of Av, after the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

“It was a national disaster,” said Israel Defense Forces general Uzi Dayan at a conference hosted by the right-wing Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University to mark the 10-year anniversary of the disengagement. “In my opinion this will go down in history as the sixth disastrous event of Tisha B’Av.”

The evacuation of Gaza’s Gush Katif settlement bloc was an emotional event for Israelis of all political stripes. The scenes of Jewish soldiers forcing Jewish civilians from their homes of 30 years will be forever seared into the Israeli cultural memory. For the nationalist right, however, the disengagement is not just a painful recollection, but also a historic lesson in the perils of Israeli territorial compromise, evidenced by Hamas’s takeover of the strip in 2007.

Bold: Ariel Sharon ordered the unprecedented settler evacuation.

Getty Images

Bold: Ariel Sharon ordered the unprecedented settler evacuation.

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Revisiting The Gaza Withdrawal, 10 Years Later

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Revisiting The Gaza Withdrawal, 10 Years Later