Jerusalem and Heritage Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who was evicted from his home in Gush Katif fifteen years ago, addressed the Knesset plenum this evening.
"I want to remind you, people of Yesh Atid, how a 'government that silences the Knesset, harms democracy, and tramples the rights of its citizens' looks, as you wrote in the wording of your no-confidence motion. I don't have to go back very much in time, it's been all of fifteen years. In 2005. When the Israeli government expelled me, my family, my students, and the ten thousand residents of Gush Katif from their homes," said Peretz.
He related his perspective as a Gush Katif deportee, in the face of the political system: "The government made a decision against the democratic choice of the people. Sharon, after being elected, thumbed his nose at his party and his constituents. Sharon had to split the Likud in order to pass the plan in the Knesset. And you talk to me about paralyzing the Knesset? Violating democracy?
"I'll tell you how such a violation looks. The Supreme Court that you so strenuously defend, allowed the deportation while trampling our civil rights. Without the State providing us alternative solutions, without the plan being given to the people's choice. The Court allowed the move against every democratic decision that was taken beforehand. Moreover, no preliminary discussion was held with the defense establishment regarding the disengagement plan and the IDF wasn't involved in the decision-making process. It was the group from the Farm who prevailed. This is what democracy looked like, just 15 years ago. Trampling on civil rights? While they rode roughshod over us, we were model citizens. A court sent 14-year-old girls to detention until the end of the proceedings for no wrongdoing. When we were expelled from Gush Katif we put the Menorah on our shoulders as did the Jews who were expelled from Jerusalem by the Romans. How do you treat the Menorah? Unfortunately, all the people of Israel saw how last week," Rabbi Peretz added.
He said, "When we cried, you rejoiced at the expulsion from Gush Katif. You portrayed us as enemies of the people, as those who would refuse an order, as those who would act violently - and none of that happened. We behaved like model citizens after you gave us a punch in the stomach. It's raw. It hurts. My brothers are still crying out for the poverty and neglect by the State. When my family and students and I were homeless, Yair Lapid called it 'victory of Israeliness' in his column published the next day. To this day I've heard no apology from him. Maybe for of him the expulsion of Jews from their land was a victory.
"You provide us a painful reminder of what will happen if you're in power and if the Right isn't strong enough. You tore the army into two, you tore Israeli society in two - just like you try to do today; you steamrolled everything in your path, and spared no move on the road to deportation. Too fast did you forget that for baseless hatred we fell, and the truth is, with baseless love will we be rebuilt," Rabbi Peretz concluded.