Hundreds of residents of Gush Katif marked on Wednesday the sixth anniversary of their expulsion from their homes, during the Sharon government’s 2005 disengagement plan from Gaza.
The annual event marking the anniversary of the expulsion from Gush Katif took place, as it does each year, near the Kissufim crossing, which is the closest point to what was formerly the Jewish communities of Gush Katif.
“Kissufim, which is right next to where we are, in English means yearning,” said Dror Vanunu, International Director of the Gush Katif Committee. “And the feeling is that all of us are yearning for the place we had to leave a few years ago.”
Vanunu said that today, 20% percent of the Gush Katif expellees, who had to move into temporary caravans after the expulsion, have moved into permanent homes.
“Hopefully by the end of 2012 the majority of the families of Gush Katif will be living in permanent homes in different communities around the country,” he said, yet added, “Physically we’ll be there but our hearts will be deep in Gush Katif, still waiting for the day that all of us, together with the people of Israel, can move back to Gush Katif.”
The event on Wednesday focused on the young generation, particularly on those who were small babies at the time of the expulsion and are now starting first grade.
“This is our way to say that we’re passing this on to the next generation,” said Laurence Beziz of the Katif Heritage Center. “The only thing that was not destroyed in Gush Katif is what we call ‘the orange spirit,’ the spirit of doing, of having a dream and making it come true.”
During the ceremony, children who were born in the year after the expulsion and did not really know Gush Katif, went up on stage and received a gift and a certificate stating that they have joined the Gush Katif family.
The Rabbi of Gush Katif, Rabbi Yigal Kaminsky, said during the ceremony that the spirit of Gush Katif continues across the country today.
“120 communities across the country, including those that are not considered ‘orange,’ are marking these days the destruction of Gush Katif,” he said. “That is an encouraging and joyful statement.”