Gush Katif residents gather 'Homeward'

In a rally along the Gazan border, Gush Katif supporters chanted: "We will yet return to Gush Katif!"

Eliran Aharon ,

מפגן געגועים
מפגן געגועים
צילום: מיכאל אפריאט

11 years after they were removed from their homes, hundreds of families of Gush Katif gathered on Thursday afternoon at the Gaza border fence, chanting, "We will yet return to Gush Katif!"

The rally began at Kissufim Crossing, the closest point to Gush Katif that Israelis can access today. Hundreds of families, as well as public figures, rabbis, and MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) attended. Yogev commented that "Ever since we 'disengaged' from the blooming Gush, it has reverted to sands and to be a terror base. Only through the restoration of our control, will we also restore our safety.

"The connection to the town of Gush Katif is live and well. We will return together with all the nation of Israel to every town, and we will revive life and safety in the Gaza Strip, construction and agriculture," Yogev added.

At the end of the rally, the families traveled to eleven points along the Gaza border fence, there to look out over what was their home until 11 years ago.

The rally
Michael Afriat

"We were sent by the state, we dealt with the Arab enemy who murdered us, yet we never broke. Yet the day...the state struck a terrible blow upon us, it was hard to recover. Despite this, we have established new neighborhoods, new towns...from the north to the south, and with all this, we have not forgotten for a moment the land in the Gush, and we will yet return," representatives of the families said.

Hagit Yoron, chairwoman of the Gush Katif Residents Committee, and one of the organizers of the event, said that "11 years after the uprooting of hundreds of residents of Gush Katif, their children and grandchildren packed the locations, and the joy of our meeting impressed them all."

Ari Odes, who established the growing "Homeward" movement, which promotes re-establishing Israeli control over Gaza , added: "We decided to get up and share our feelings of longing for Gush Katif, and along the way discovered masses of people who have joined the movement.

"Today was a tremendous vote of confidence in our way. Lots of people - those who lived in the Gush, and those who did not - came to the 11 viewpoint locations which we established around the Gaza Strip and looked out on our land."