Dozens of senior parliamentarians from across Europe visited the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem during a trip to Israel. They were joined by Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), and all together, lit Chanukah candles as a gesture of solidarity with the Jewish people.
As they toured the museum, the MPs remarked that Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, termed the “Disengagement,” had been a mistake. The one-sided move, which followed years of terrorist attacks, was seen by radical Islamists as a victory for their ideology, they said.
Israeli Jews should build throughout the land, particularly in Judea and Samaria, said Rene Stadtkewitz, Chairman of Germany's Freedom Party. Conceding land does not bring peace, but rather, strengthens terrorists, he said.
The MPs, who recently toured Judea and Samaria, noted that much of Israel is visible from the hills of Judea and Samaria, making a withdrawal from the region particularly dangerous.
Kara called on Israel to build close relationships with the Mps, members of Europe's “new Right” that supports Israel and worries about extremist Islam. The “new Right” has shared interests with the Jewish people and the state of Israel, he said.
Israel withdrew from Gaza, and forcibly removed thousands of Israeli Jews from their homes in the region, despite having received nothing in return from the Palestinian Authority. After the withdrawal Gaza terrorists increased their rocket and mortar shell attacks on southern Israel, with violence escalating until the Cast Lead counterterror operation of early 2009, which dramatically reduced the frequency of Gaza attacks.
The candles the MPs lit were held by a special menorah made of the spent casings of mortar shells that Gaza terrorists had fired at Israelis living in Gush Katif. The menorah was created by Gideon Rivlin, a Gush Katif resident and father of five who was later murdered in a terrorist attack.