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Aug. 15, 2005: ‘A date which will live in infamy’

A 15-year retrospective on the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, otherwise known as “disengagement” from Gaza.

The demolition of Ganey Tal settlement in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip during Israel's disengagement, Aug. 22, 2005. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90.
The demolition of Ganey Tal settlement in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip during Israel's disengagement, Aug. 22, 2005. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90.
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Joseph Frager
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

I was in Gush Katif in 2005. It was one of the most magnificent agricultural developments and enterprises in all of Israel, with some of the finest organically grown produce in the world, including the New York Times Number One-rated tomato.

The pioneering Jewish farmers who worked the land truly made a desert bloom. There were 21 beautiful communities strung together like pearls on a necklace. There were wonderful schools and regal synagogues; they were a sight to behold.

It was a dream come true, like the rest of Israel and the rebirth of a nation after 2,000 years in exile.

Gush Katif was a miracle. The miracle came to an abrupt halt when Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally disengage from a project that he himself had been involved in and praised to the highest of heavens. Despite millions of dollars being pumped into the Palestinian Authority to help develop its own agricultural and industrial zone, Gush Katif became a desecrated wasteland and terrorist base once Sharon expelled the 10,000 Jews living there.

To this day, it is not clear what drove Sharon to make such a tragic mistake. At the time, I believed that it was “payback” to then-U.S. President George W. Bush for his invasion of Iraq.

I did everything I could to try to stop the “expulsion,” which was a great trauma to the Jewish people; the pain and anguish persist even today. This is precisely the reason that the Jewish people seek the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria now. Israel cannot ever again go through the nightmare that it endured 15 years ago.

It is up to U.S. President Donald Trump to allow sovereignty/annexation of Judea and Samaria to proceed according to his “Peace to Prosperity” plan. I would sincerely recommend that he do it prior to the November election. It will help give him a big boost, just as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv did so. Although, the deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is an achievement, the application of sovereignty will help the president a lot more in his campaign for re-election. It will make him the unequivocal champion among American presidents of the Friends of Israel Society.

This past week, I had the honor of talking to Dr. Jacques Gauthier, an international lawyer and one of the world’s leading experts on Israel’s indigenous and unequivocal legal rights to Judea and Samaria. A righteous Gentile, he has spent the last 20 years researching Israel’s legal rights to the area. He points to the critical San Remo Conference of 1920, which put into effect “the declaration originally made on November 2,1917 by the government of His Britannia Majesty” (the Balfour Declaration) in favor of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People.”

Dr. Gauthier told me that Dr. Chaim Weizmann felt that the San Remo Conference was the single most important event in the establishment of the State of Israel. It also gave Israel the legal basis for its rights to Judea and Samaria adopted by the League of Nations in 1922.

He made it clear that Israel should have annexed Judea and Samaria after the 1967 Six-Day War. Waiting 53 years is way too long. That is why it is so important for President Trump to green-light the annexation. This will enable Israel once and for all to fulfill its legal obligation and rights to the land.

With the Gush Katif debacle still fresh in everyone’s minds, the prospect of further expulsions is untenable. The only way to ensure that this does not happen is to apply sovereignty now. I beseech President Trump to enable Israel to do so, in order to guarantee his re-election on November 3.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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