Eleven Years After Evacuation from GazaMonday 29/08/2016

Article by Moriah Khalili

Eleven years ago, after a peacemaking attempt was made by the Israeli government to reduce conflicts with Palestinian authorities in the Middle East, 8,000 Israeli women, men, and children residing in Gaza were forced to evacuate their homes and towns by the Israeli government. The very places that held their dearest memories had to be torn away from them.

The evacuation from the Gaza strip had a specific purpose, or so we thought. The goal of leaving the control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority was to mitigate tensions with them. We hoped that providing this piece of land would be a step forward in the peacemaking process by addressing their requests.

Since the withdrawal from Gaza, more than 11,000 rockets have been fired into Israel. The Israeli Army was forced to launch three military operations since the event, because rockets are constantly sent to Israeli towns and neighborhoods, murdering and injuring many individuals. Only two summers ago, under Operation Protective Edge, rockets were sent to Israel every day, especially in southern cities. The Iron Dome has been capable of detaining missiles and preventing thousands of people from getting killed.

The Iron Dome, one of the most advanced and efficient anti-missile systems worldwide created in Israel, intercepts rockets that are fired from Gaza. The Iron Dome identifies and destroys missiles that are aimed at Israeli cities before they are able to reach the cities, for it is capable of ascertaining the direct location of where the rocket will hit.

Overall this constant state of uncertainty and terror is a reality that no other country would deem acceptable; since 2001 over 15,200 rockets and mortars have been fired to Israel, with an average of 3 per day targeting Israel.

As a result, Israel inspects all material that arrives to Gaza, and places a military blockade around the coastal area in order to prevent dangerous ammunition that is used for terrorist activity from entering Gaza and being used against Israel. All goods are inspected upon their arrival to Ashdod and sent in trucks to Gaza. This is an efficient, safe way to ensure that civilians will not be harmed from smuggled goods that are imported to Gaza for violent purposes.

Even though this antagonism is brought against Israel by leaders in Gaza, Israel still provides humanitarian aid to supply the residents in Gaza. Part of this security effort includes checking what enters the coast in order to confirm that the material is not harmful.  In contrast to Israel’s humane acts, the “efforts” in Gaza have only been geared towards war instead of peace. In order to further rouse tensions, terrorists receive arms from leading countries that oppose Israel. The funds that they receive are used to promote incitement against Israel, rather than to create infrastructure and ameliorate conditions within Gaza.

Despite Israel’s constant peacemaking attempts and the subsequent acts of terror by terrorist organizations, there is still pressure placed by international leaders insisting that Israel give up land for peace. We challenge this request due to the attacks, killings, and missiles, causing innocent civilians to lose family members and friends.

The Gaza evacuation is an explicit paradigm of a land for peace attempt that was proven ineffective, even considered a failure. This is why our officials and citizens are not easily willing to agree to give up more land for peace. We approach the sensitive matter with hesitation, due to the unfruitful results, the lack of change despite our efforts to appease authorities with whom we have questionable relations. 

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