On a visit to the Gush Katif and Northern Samaria Heritage Center in Nitzan on Tuesday, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said that he was confident that Israel would someday rebuild the communities of Gush Katif in their original locations.
Landau was one of the leaders of the opposition to the 2006 disengagement plan, which saw over 10,000 Jews uprooted from their homes and turned homeless in a unilateral move by the government of then Prime MInister Ariel Sharon.
Most of the evicted families were forced to wander from hotel to temporary caravan to apartment for several years before settling into new communities, since houses the government had promised them took years to complete. Even now, dozens of families are still living in temporary trailer parks, often in substandard conditions. Many are still unemployed or underemployed, and are having trouble making ends meet, having used up their savings and the unsubstantial government compensation. Social connections were broken and many of the youth showed emotional scarring.
In order to preserve the memories of the communities, Jews from Gush Katif established the Heritage Center. Landau, who was one of the Knesset members who pushed for government funding for the Center, toured the Center's exhibits, including a special project consisting of 600 interviews with former residents of Gush Katif and northern Samaria. A film that was screened for Landau featured the story of a pioneer who had lived in Gush Katif from the beginning.
It has been 35 years since the establishment of Gush Katif with full government cooperation and encouragement,, and community members presented Landau with an award for his efforts on their behalf during his long political career. Landau closed the day by visiting Be'er Ganim, a new community that is to house 140 families from Gush Katif who are still homeless.