TEL AVIV – Forget about swords turning into ploughshares. One of two rockets fired into the Jewish state Wednesday by Gazan terrorists was launched from a former Jewish community evacuated in Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
The rocket was fired from Netzarim, one of 21 Israeli communities that were known as Gush Katif, where about 8,500 Jews lived in farming blocs in the southern Gaza Strip. The Jews of Gaza were removed, some by force, by the Israel Defense Forces in August 2005.
Within hours of the Israeli retreat, Palestinians burned down the main synagogue in Netzarim and were pictured hoisting Hamas flags over the rubble.
Hamas announced plans to turn the Neztarim synagogue into a “museum” that would display weapons deployed against Israeli civilians.
“Qassam rockets and other locally made arms will be exposed, since it is the legal weapon that evicted the occupation forces,” said a Hamas statement on the sinister plans for the former synagogue.
Like most other Gush Katif communities, Neztarim was also home to high-tech greenhouses that, among other things, grew bug-free produce. The existence of the greenhouses was considered a farming coup, since Gaza’s dry, sandy terrain was largely thought to have been unfarmable.
Prior to Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, wealthy American Jewish donors had bought more than 3,000 greenhouses from the Gush Katif residents at a price of more than $14 million.
The deal was brokered by former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who himself put up $500,000 in personal funds.
The Jewish greenhouses were transferred to the Palestinian Authority with the hopes the Palestinians would utilize Gush Katif to continue the successful export of produce started by the Gazan Jews.
Instead, after Israel’s withdrawal, Palestinians looted the greenhouses, “walking off with irrigation hoses, water pumps and plastic sheeting,” the Associated Press reported from Gaza in September 2005.
The AP reported Palestinian police “stood by helplessly … as looters carted off materials from greenhouses.”
WND reported Wednesday a jihadist whose group claims to represent ISIS in the Gaza Strip called WND to claim responsibility for firing of two rockets toward the Israeli port city of Ashkelon.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported an Israeli official said the defense establishment believes the attack Wednesday was carried out by Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad militants as part of an internal feud. However, Islamic Jihad denied responsibility.
Israel has been reluctant to discuss the reported presence of ISIS supporters in Gaza.
In response to the rocket attack, the IDF struck three Hamas infrastructure targets Thursday in the Gaza Strip.