|Israel Resource Review
||17th July, 2005
From Yamit to Katif:
The Differences Between 1982
and 2005 - From a Personal and Professional Perspective
People often ask why there is any reason to be so excited about
what the Sharon government proposes when it proposes the
demolition of 26 Jewish communities in Gush Katif in Gaza and in Samaria.
After all, didn't Sharon demolish sixteen Jewish communities in
the Sinai in April, 1982, in his capacity as Israel's Minister
of Defence, supposedly as a prelude to "peace" with Egypt? (Some
peace, the Egyptians look the other way as arms are smuggled
over their border to murder Israeli women and children in terrorist attacks).
So why is this newer removal so different from any other removal?
Back in 1982, as a community organization social worker, I was one of many
mental health professionals asked to render assistance to residents of
Yamit in the Sinai who were being evacuated from their homes after living there for
The process of counseling people in such circumstances was not an easy one.
Families were falling apart at the seams. A couple whom I knew had been
prosperous and happily married saw their lives torn apart in a process that
destroyed their marriage.
Yet the Yamit evacuation in Gaza counseling process was doable, for many reasons.
The compensation offered then was good.
The people being evacuated were comforted to know that the government of
Israel had achieved a solid clear peace treaty with Israel's most powerful
adversary in exchange for total withdrawal from the Sinai. At least there would be quiet on Israel's southern border.
Cabinet Ministers, including Prime Minister Begin, invited the evacuees to
see him to hear their plight, and the people of Yamit and the other 15 evacuated
communities back then felt that they were still appreciated and respected by the
government of Israel and by the media.
In addition, then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon helped the communities to relocate - as
complete communities - to places that the government cleared for settlement, over
a period of three years, from the moment when the peace treaty was signed
in 1979 until their relocation in 1982.
Sharon personally helped people from Yamit resettle their families to Elei
Sinai, in the Northern most part of the Gaza Strip, in an area that had
been a no-man's land, patrolled by the United Nations forces from 1957 until
Egypt demanded that the UN pull out in 1967.
The government of Israel helped the agricultural community of Atzmoneh,
move to a new location under the same name in Gush Katif in Gaza, while the government
also helped the Yamit Yeshiva moved to a new location in Neveh Dekalim also in
While the demolition of Yamit and its suburbs was indeed a trauma, it was
a trauma that people were able to cope with.
The precedent of Yamit was that Israel would trade settlements only for a
solid peace treaty with an Arab entity.
Since no peace treaty was on the horizon, people had felt safe and secure
in the notion that no Israeli government would ever dismantle Jewish
communities for anything less than a solid peace treaty with an Arab neighbor.
It might not be perfect, but as least there would be quiet.
In that spirit, Israel's Zionist peace movements - Meretz in the Knesset
and "Peace Now" in the streets, stuck to their philosophy of "territories
for peace", based on the Yariv-Shaem Tov formula, named for Israeli
intelligence chief Aharon Yariv and Israeli Mapam leader Victor Shaem Tov.
This "territories for peace " formula was far different from the platform
of the anti-Zionist Left led by Matzpen, Uri Avneri, General Mati Peled and
the Israeli Communist party, all of whom advocated the unilateral
abandonment of Israel's Jewish communities established beyond the 1967
lines, with no "quid pro quo"
That position was firmly opposed by the Israeli Zionist Left.
As General Aharon Yariiv told me in an interview on February 24th 1988, "We
advocated territory for peace, not territory before peace," since
territory handed to an enemy at war with Israel could simply be used as a
launching pad for attacks against Israel
The Ten Essential Differences:
Yamit and Gaza's Gush Katif / Samaria's Shomron
Let us now turn the clock from 1982 to the 2005 lightening bolt process of
the Sharon government, which has suddenly adopted the position of the
Israel Communist Party, in favor of "territory before peace."
Let us look at the ten fundamental differences between the two situations.
1. 1982 involved ceding land to an Arab state making peace, while 2005
involved ceding land to a PLO promising continued warfare with Israel.
2. Yamit and its surrounding agricultural settlements were of little
significance to to the economy of the state or people of Israel. Katif
provides $62 million of agricultural exports for Israel, along with
hundreds of teachers for the communities of the Western Negev.
3. Yamit and its surrounding agricultural settlements held little strategic
significance for Israel. However, Katif's location in five parts of Gaza
was planned as a way of slowing the advance of any potential invasion from
south, while allowing vital intelligence listening posts for continuing
surveillance of Gaza and the sea. Meanwhile, all four hilltop settlements
slated for abandonment in the Shomron are places from where the PLO can
attack anywhere on the coastal plain of Israel
4. Compensation being offered is much smaller. The Florsheim Institute of
Social Research has shared with its research with the Knesset to show
that the government offers less than one tenth of what was offered to the
people in Yamit.
5. The Israeli government cannot show that there is any peace treaty or any
inkling of a peace arrangement with the PLO, despite the fact that the
brochure issued on May 1st, 2005 by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
indicates that "disengagement will lead to peace"
6. While people in Yamit and its surrounding agricultural settlements were
there for an average of 5 years, most of the families in Katif have lived
there for as long as 25-30 years.
7. Yamit residents were never demonized by the Israeli gov't media outlets.
For the past year, the Israeli government-owned-and-operated TV and Radio media
has consistently portrayed the residents who oppose their eviction as
unreasonable fanatics and worse.
8. Yamit residents had three years to plan their future from the time of
the signing of the April 1, 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty on the White
House lawn until its implementation on April 30th 1982, when the
settlements in the Sinai were uprooted. In contrast, the Katif/Shomron
communities have to plan their future from the day of Knesset ratification
of the compensation bill in February 2005 until August, 2005, when the
law evicted them from their homes and farms, or face the prospect of
9. While Israeli Israel government officials maintained a continuing dialogue
with the people of Yamit, Israeli cabinet officials have for the most part
refused to speak with them. The Secretary of Kadim in Shomron
shows that all letters to Israeli cabinet officials to ask them why they
were demolishing their community of 21 years went unanswered. Residents of
Ganim who decided to leave were denied requests to meet with cabinet
members and say that they were treated like criminals throughout the
process. Katif residents only heard about the details of their abandonment
from radio and internet reports, while cabinet members would not answer
requests to meet with them. And when Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz did come
to the Katif community center, I witnessed his refusal to answer any questions.
10. While the June 6th, 2004 provision in the Israel government decision
clearly states that no homes or assets from Jewish communities would be
ceded to anyone "involved in terrorist activity," the government of Israel
simply eliminated this clause from its June 23rd, 2004 agreement with the
World Bank, and the Israeli Foreign Ministry brochure of May 1st, 2005
simply eliminated the clause. Such an omission allows PLO warlord Muhammad Dahlan,
fingered by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Wall Street Journal of
June 2nd, 2002 as the man responsible for the campaign of cold-blooded
murder against the citizens of Israel, to be the man whom Israel is
nurturing to take over assets of abandoned Jewish properties. This, despite
the fact that Olmert stated in that article that Dahlan should be executed
by Israel for his crimes that included murdering Israeli schoolteachers and costing Israeli children their legs in a deliberate terrorist attack on a school bus. Imagine what would have happened if, while consoling the people of Yamit, we would have broken the news to them that
the Islamic Brotherhood of Egypt would be taking control of their homes and
property. Nobody sees the analogy as we plunge headlong into the so-called "Road Map."
Preparing For Massive Military Action
All this is written as a backdrop to the reality that the Israeli Army is
amassing more than 40,000 troops and police near Gaza to forcibly remove
Jews from their homes. The Israeli police force has purchased 500 horses
from Germany to aid them in their task. Former Israeli intelligence
official, Rony Shaked, now a senior correspondent for the daily newspaper,
Yediot Aharonot, has written that the IDF now has specially trained dogs
who can pull people out of their homes and on to the streets. And the IDF
troops near Katif have been handed a document which explains under what
circumstances will they be expected to open fire on protesters. The
document concludes with an estimate that 300 residents and/or protesters
will be killed in the process. Western media never reports this stuff. Then again,
what really is the likelihood of such failed ideas working when they are forced down Israel's throat and terrorism is rewarded?
A far cry from Yamit. This quest for "peace" is insane.
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