Livnat with Gush Katif expellees
Livnat with Gush Katif expellees Israel news photo: (file)

Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat joined a growing list of government and IDF officials Thursday in apologizing for her role in the 2005 “Disengagement.” In a meeting with Jews who were expelled from Gaza under the Disengagement program, Livnat said she was “deeply sorry” for having supported the process.

"I am pained and deeply sorry, I ask your forgiveness for having voted on behalf of the Disengagement under Sharon,” Livnat told former Gush Katif residents living in the communities of Shekef and Amatzya.

Livnat called on the government to enact an “affirmative action” style program to give preference to former Gush Katif residents, many of whom remain homeless and jobless more than four years after the expulsion.

Members of the Gush Katif residents' Committee said in response to Livnat's apology, “The only true expression of regret will be a government decision to return to Gush Katif.”

"Until then, we welcome [Livnat's] commitment to the basic obligation to give special assistance to former Gush Katif residents.”

Livni is next to visit

Early next week, former Gush Katif residents expect a visit from MK Tzipi Livni, head of the Knesset opposition, and several other members of the Kadima party.

Unlike Livnat, Livni has not expressed regret for the Disengagement, and in fact on Thursday stated that Israel should withdraw from territory in Judea and Samaria as well. If Israel does not do so, she warned, it could lose its Jewish majority.

“We will be forced to give up part of the land of Israel in order to maintain a state that is both Jewish and democratic,” she said.

Livni's predictions of demographic doom are disputed by diplomat and demography expert Yoram Ettinger.