With war raging, soldiers dying, and new tunnels appearing, most Israelis are not now in the mood to play the blame-game. It is ironic, however, that the Disengagement/Expulsion from Gush Katif that enabled Hamas to build up its missiles arsenal and tunnels network marks its ninth anniversary this very week.
To commemorate the occasion, a public event will be held at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem this coming Sunday evening. It will also commemorate the 10th anniversary of the famous "Human Orange Chain" that stretched from Gush Katif in Gaza all the way to the Western Wall Jerusalem, 90 kilometers away. (Orange was the official color of the popular struggle against the Disengagement.)
The Chain featured at least 130,000 people, according to police estimates. They stood in a nearly unbroken, hand-to-hand line-up, sending a message of "No to disengagement and expulsion, Yes to the Land of Israel and Gush Katif."
That their message was not accepted by the Ariel Sharon-headed government is a source of great frustration today – not only for the nearly 9,000 uprooted residents, but for many others in Israel, as the nation fights a costly war to destroy the terrorist network that has since arisen in Gaza.
The Sunday evening event will feature talks by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Interior Minister Gideon Saar. Following the screening of a new film on the Human Chain by Mordy Kershner, a panel discussion will take place entitled, "Does the Chain Yet Continue?" MK Zevulun Kalfa, the only current Knesset Member who lived in Gush Katif, will take part.
The event will be MC'd by popular broadcaster Sivan Rahav-Meir, known for her ability to bring out the ambience of religiously-oriented events to the secular public.