Struggle and uprooting
5764-5 (2004-5):  Struggle and Displacement
Between 2000 and 2003 there was a 10% population growth.  In 2004, the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip grew by 11% - the highest percentage growth rate in any region in Israel.  In 2004, 8,693 people lived in 17 communities in the Gaza Strip compared to 7,820 in 2003.
On  the 10 of Shvat 5764, February 2nd 2004, Sharon dropped the bomb that shook the country in an interview in “Haaretz” newspaper:  He decided to evacuate all the Gush Katif villages, to the very last one, together with four communities in Northern Samaria.
Sharon undertook to leave the decision to a poll of the Likud party members.  On the 11 of Iyar 5764, May 2nd 2004, a poll was held.  That evening, the extent of the Prime Minister’s defeat became clear: 59.5 % of the voters among members of Likud opposed the proposal and only 39.7% supported it.  The triumph of their victory at the poll was mixed with deep mourning at the murder of the Hatuel family women that same morning – Tali, the mother, and her four daughters, May the Lord revenge their blood.
But the Prime Minister did not give up.  Without batting an eyelid, he openly defied his public undertaking to accept any decision reached by the members of the party, and brought a new proposal to the government, which was called the “revised disengagement”.  It was precisely the same disengagement decision that the Likud members had rejected with a large majority at the poll, except for a different, graduated time table.  (This time table also proved to be a lie, since when the Knesset approved the disengagement plan, that very day, the Prime Minister signed an order to evacuate all the villages).  On  the 17 of Sivan 5764, May 6th 2004, the government decided on the disengagement.  Two days earlier, on Friday, the Prime Minister dismissed ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Benny Alon, thereby creating the majority he needed in the government.
On the 7 of Av 5764, July 25th 2004, in the late afternoon, an impressive “human chain” demonstration took place.  Thousands of people held hands in a single chain from the Gaza region as far as Jerusalem.
On the 6 of Elul 5764, August 23rd 2004, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the commencement of the work of the Disengagement Plan Administration. Rather cynically, the Prime Minister decided to call the disengagement administration, the “Sela Administration – Assistance to inhabitants of the Gaza Region."  While the administration was preparing to execute the disengagement, the situation in the field was quite the opposite; more expansion and reinforcement.  The statistics of the Ministry of Interior published at the beginning of 2005 informed that in 2004, the population increase in the Gaza Strip was 11% - the highest percentage increase in population in any region in Israel.  In 2004, 8,693 people lived in 17 communities in the Gaza Strip as compared to 7,820 in 2003.  The principal growth took place in the second half of 2004, ever since the government adopted the disengagement plan. In the first half of 2004, the six months between Sharon's announcement and the government’s decision, the Israeli population grew by 4%.  In the second half, from June, the month in which the government confirmed the disengagement plan, an increase of 538 people was recorded – a 7% of the total population.  The total increase in population in the Gaza Strip was 873 since 2003.  A total of 155 new families were added to the villages in the Gaza Strip.  It was an increase of 11% - more than the total increase over the three preceding years!  (From 2000 till 2003 an increase of 10% in the population was recorded).
The fact that 4% of the increase was recorded till the government’s decision and 7% after the decision, makes it clear that people did not come to Gush Katif in order to claim compensation.
On the 11 of Heshvan 5765, November 26th 2004, which corresponds with the anniversary of the death our mother Rachel, the Knesset confirmed the “The Disengagement Law”.  Now the Knesset moved on to discuss the displacement-compensation law.  On the 7 of Adar 5765, February 16th 2005, the Knesset confirmed the evacuation,-compensation law with a smaller majority than expected; 59 – 40.  Four days later, on the morning of Sunday, the 11 of Adar 5765, February 20th 2005, the Knesset approved the decision to uproot the villages.  On that very day, the Prime Minister hurried to sign an order to evacuate the villages.  On the 17 of Adar 5765, March 28th 2005, a proposal to hold a referendum fell in the Knesset. Two days later, the budget was approved and in this way the last obstacle to evacuating the communities was removed.
In the month Av August 5765, 2005, 21 communities in Gush Katif were uprooted.  Their residents became exiles in their own land.  A flourishing area of the Jewish State was wiped off the map of our country.  

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