Arutz Sheva got the chance to sit down and discuss Operation Protective Edge with Anita Tucker, who helped found the community of Netzer Hazani in Gush Katif over 35 years ago before being expelled from Gaza in the 2005 Disengagement Plan.
Tucker, who was a celery farmer in Gush Katif which produced around 10% of all Israeli agricultural produce, gave a tour of the renewed Netzer Hazani community in the Negev, located just north of the religious moshav Yesodot, to the east of Ashdod.
While Tucker has been expelled from her home in Gaza for nine years, "we're waiting any day to go back home." She added that with the current operation, "this time it felt really close."
Illustrating why she feels that way, Tucker noted that during the operation former Netzer Hazani residents went to bring food and supplies to the soldiers. One Friday they went to Erez Crossing with signs saying "Netzer Hazani loves you," to which the surprised soldiers said "we just were on the ruins of Netzer Hazani."
In 1976 Tucker recalls being shown by an old Arab resident of Gaza City the old Jewish Quarter that was destroyed in 1929, and which had existed for many generations. In the Quarter, she relates seeing ancient mosaic floors showing stories from the Torah in a building turned into a mosque.
"I used to buy diapers in Khan Younis," says Tucker, noting how the Jews of Gush Katif used to shop freely in Gaza City. She further remarked that Gaza is today attached to the Israeli electric grid, despite its enormous debt, and to the national water pipeline thanks to Jews of Gush Katif.
Terror caused by "peace"
However, relations changed "when the world spoke about peace" according to Tucker, recalling that former Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat was brought into Gaza after the 1993 Oslo Accords, bringing with him terror and hanging local Arabs who opposed him.
The situation further spiraled in 2000 with the Roadmap Agreement, under whose aegis the PA in Gaza received arms. In the first two years following the Roadmap, Tucker recalls that six to seven thousand rockets were fired on Gush Katif.
Any Gaza acquaintances "that we knew to be somewhat moral have been killed, have been tortured in jail," says Tucker, adding that any Arab residents left in Gaza are collaborating with Hamas because "they haven't tried to escape and haven't protested."
"We endangered our soldiers without reason," stated Tucker of the current operation, noting the soldiers killed in booby-trapped buildings instead of having airstrikes take out the danger. The former Gush Katif resident said jets should have gone first and "knocked off everything."
Speaking about the charges of "war crimes," Tucker reasoned "humane is when someone wants to kill you and you kill them first," noting the Jewish principle of "kill first the one who comes to kill you."