Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was at the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem on Monday, where he opened the special events held by the museum to mark six years since the expulsion of the residents of Gush Katif as part of the 2005 disengagement plan. Ayalon was accompanied by MK Anastasia Michaeli and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Masha Novikov.
Ayalon said he was surprised and thrilled about the presence of the Gush Katif Museum in the heart of Jerusalem, something which he said gives the world a window into what happened in Gush Katif. He spoke about the importance and the necessity of the museum in Israel’s capital. Museum director Shlomo Wasserteil gave Ayalon a tour of all the exhibits in the museum and focused on the unbearable situation of the expellees, a situation which still exists today, six years after the expulsion.
After they were expelled from their homes, the Jewish residents of Gush Katif were forced to move into temporary caravans, and some of them have lived in those caravans ever since. Some have expressed concerns that they will be forced to live this way for many years to come.
It has been reported that many of the expellees have been unable to find new employment, leading to an economic instability and an inability to build permanent homes.
Officials promised a “turning point” for the Gush Katif evacuees this past winter, with the heads of the Tnufa Administration, the body charged with resettling thousands of Jews who were expelled from Gaza, predicting that at least one third of the expellees would be in permanent homes by the end of the year.
During his visit to the museum, Ayalon received a souvenir from the Israel Postal Authority’s Philatelic Service and wrote in the visitors’ book, “To the people of Gush Katif and the museum staff: Thanks for the tour, fir your contribution, for your sacrifice and especially for your loyalty to Israel and its people. The uprooting of the communities of Gush Katif will be remembered as an important and defining moment in the history of the nation and we will ensure that it is so.”