Gaza Jewish home slated for evacuation
NEVE DAKALIM, Gaza — As Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw Jewish communities from Gaza and parts of the West Bank this summer draws closer, logistics concerning the transfer of graves and property and the relocation of residents remain unresolved.
Yesterday, an expert group turned down a government request to help evacuate a Jewish Gaza cemetery.
“We would never be involved in the dismantling of Jewish homes. Our rabbinic board advised us against helping in the evacuation of sites that don’t need to be evacuated,” Matthew Meshi-Zahav, executive director of ZAKA, an organization that ensures proper burial and collection of human tissues after terror attacks, told WorldNetDaily.
ZAKA had been asked by Israel’s Ministry of Defense to facilitate the transfer of 47 graves from a Jewish cemetery in the Neve Dakalim neighborhood of Gush Katif, the largest Gaza Jewish community slated for evacuation in August.
The Defense Ministry said it would propose another plan for removing the Jewish graveyard ahead of the Gaza withdrawal.
Also unresolved is the planned relocation of Gaza’s Jewish residents to Netzanim, a new community on Israel’s southern coastline that Sharon has earmarked for resettlement.
Construction of the new neighborhood has been stalled because of legal suits by environmentalists who object to developing the area, forcing Gaza residents who sign up for the relocation program to live in caravans and trailers until new homes can be built.
The Israeli government has offered Gaza residents payment packages for the loss of their homes, property and jobs, but so far only about 100 of nearly 1,500 families have agreed to make alternative housing and employment plans and negotiate compensation deals.
“We aren’t going anywhere,” Anita Tucker, one of the pioneer Jewish farmers in Gaza told WND. “It says a lot that residents were offered money and we turned it down. Money isn’t going to compensate for asking us to leave behind our homes, the produce and vegetation we grow … our whole lives.”
Gaza Jewish greenhouse (Photo: Alex Traiman for WorldNetDaily)
Gaza features thousands of Jewish-owned greenhouses, which provide Israel with nearly 70 percent of its produce and feature some of the most advanced agricultural technology in the world, including high-tech temperature regulation and insect-free produce.
The Israeli government has been conducting negotiations about handing over the Jewish greenhouses to the Palestinians as part of the disengagement plan in spite of fierce settler opposition.
As well, there has been an ongoing debate about what to do with Jewish homes if the disengagement plan is implemented. Opponents of the withdrawal fear Jewish homes left behind will be used by Hamas to launch attacks against the Jewish state.
Sharon said at a meeting of top Israeli ministers Tuesday that if the Gaza evacuation is coordinated with the Palestinian Authority he would likely allow Jewish homes to remain in place.
Gaza Jewish tennis court left to Hamas?
“Ideally, I would rather leave the houses intact,” said Sharon.
Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an opponent of the withdrawal, suggested demolishing evacuated Jewish homes, argued that leaving them behind could be perceived as a victory for the Palestinians who “would be dancing on rooftops.”
He has warned Hamas will likely increase terror attacks against Israel as the Gaza disengagement draws closer so the group can claim to their supporters the Jewish state retreated under fire.
A confidential Hamas memo written by Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, and obtained last summer by WorldNetDaily, stated the terror group views Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal as a capitulation to terror and is planning to continue its “armed struggle” against the Jewish state until “all territories” are in Palestinian hands.
“The withdrawal, if it is implemented, is an important achievement by the Palestinian people, its intifada and armed struggle, its determination and great sacrifice, and confirms the willingness, correctness and usefulness of employing an armed struggle and its ability to attain political objectives,” wrote al-Zohar.
“We will emphasize our people’s right to resist the occupation [outside the Gaza Strip] so long as the occupation of the land and the aggression continue, with the understanding that withdrawal from Gaza is not the end of the story and occupation is still present in the rest of the lands and that not all rights and holy sites have been returned yet,” the memo stated.