Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin addressed the Knesset on Tuesday, two days before Tisha B’av. The subject of his speech was the upcoming anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif.

“15 years,” Levin began. “Fifteen years have passed since we stood in a long human chain from Gush Katif to Jerusalem. Holding hands in complete faith that the decision of the Israeli government then, could and should be reversed. In the complete belief that the pioneering vision of the thousands of settlers cannot and must not be cut short.”

“Never in the history of the State of Israel has there been such a blatant mobilization to polish away a move that remains an indelible black stain. In order to prepare for an expulsion, which was no “disengagement” between populations, but was only a disengagement from basic human values ​​and historical rights over the homeland.”

“We saw then, whole systems that lost direction, lost their way, and, most importantly, failed in the moment of truth. A government that has, all at once, thrown people from their homes without housing solutions, without jobs, without a community framework, without assistance.”

“Media and journalists who, instead of being the watchdog of democracy, instead of shouting the deportees’ cry, instead of painting the real picture, turned themselves into a propaganda machine whose entire purpose was to blur the truth, hide and suffocate the deportees’ voices.”

“This was also the sad time of those who, in their finer days, stand up for the honor of the dead, but remained silent in the face of the removal of the graves of Jews, including victims of terrorist acts.”

“This was the hour when the justice system was fully exposed. The so-called super-constitutional principles, human rights, restraining orders, all of these were thrown aside at once in favor of preparing the political course of the expulsion, and everything was done quickly in order to end quickly, to ensure that the wrongful and anti-democratic theft was carried out.”

“The evacuation of Gush Katif and northern Samaria will be remembered as one of the greatest divisive moments in Israeli society.”

 

“It will also be remembered as the moment when the thousands of deportees fully fulfilled Menachem Begin’s historic injunction – there will never be a civil war.”

“We knew how to overcome the rift, we knew how to find the unifying element, and even in these complex days,, we must adhere to this path of unity and of transcending disagreement.”

“At the same time, we must remember the terrible tragedy of the evacuation of the settlements and their inhabitants. A tragedy that we must ensure never happens again.”

“Dear deportees from Gush Katif and northern Samaria, I want to strengthen you in the difficult day-to-day struggle to cope with the scars of deportation that will never heal.”

“I am convinced that one day we will return to rebuilding our homes and our destroyed communities. Because this land is ours.”

The Israeli disengagement from Gaza was the unilateral dismantling in 2005 of the 21 Israeli settlements and the evacuation of the 8,600 Jewish settlers and the Israeli army. Four Jewish cities in northern Samaria were also destroyed at the same time. The beginning of the evacuation of settlements was officially postponed from July 20 until August 15, so as to not coincide with the Jewish period of The Three Weeks and the fast of Tisha B’Av.

In 2007, it was reported that the ruins of two large synagogues in Gush Katif were transformed into a military base used by Palestinian groups to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against Israel. 

Levin is a Likud Knesset member and opposes the creation of a Palestinian State. He believes in the right of Jews to remain in all parts of the land of Israel. Levin often criticizes the court system in Israel, claiming a small elite has taken over the system and tries to use it in order to define the values Israel lives by.