Movement to resettle Gaza gains support during Hamas war

Israeli soldiers wait patiently as Jewish settlers in Neve Dekalim are escorted from their houses in the Gaza Strip on 18 August 2005, a morning of the Gaza pullout. (Flash90/Nati Shohat)

‘Today, every citizen in the State of Israel knows that to restore security to the South…there is no choice but to reassert full control over Gaza.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

As the US, Arab nations and Israel discuss the future of Gaza after the war, there is a vocal movement that believes Israelis should return and settle the Gaza strip.

In 2005, around 9,000 Israelis were removed from 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip, most notably, Gush Katif, to give the land back to the Palestinians.

Given the growth of Hamas in the Gaza Strip that culminated in the October 7th massacres, hundreds of activist gathered in Ashdod in November to discuss the mistakes of disengagement and the re-settlement of Jews in the Gaza Strip after the war.

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, gave a rousing speech at the meeting, “I call from here to all the ministers of the government and to their head, the prime minister — make your voices heard now, lift up your heads.”

“Let it be known that you support the appeal to renew Jewish settlement throughout all of the Gaza Strip. The nation is waiting for you,” he said.

Dagan has already launched a successful campaign that led to the Knesset to repeal the part of the 2005 Disengagement law that forbade Jews from living in Northern Samaria.

His goal is to have the remaining provision repealed, which would result in allowing Jews to once again settle in Gaza Strip.

The resettlement of Gaza is a controversial subject, even among those who agree in theory.

Although the United States has supported Israel’s military action in Gaza, the Biden Administration has indicated that they expect to see the Gaza Strip after the war under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied that the PA will be ruling Gaza in the future, and has indicated that Israel must establish security control of Gaza in the war’s aftermath and will create a “buffer zone” in the Gaza strip to protect residents in the south of Israel

However, Netanyahu has stopped short of admitting that he intends Israel to establish a political entity in Gaza long-term.

When asked by reporters at a Religious Zionism faction Knesset meeting about Gaza resettlement, Bezalel Smotrich said, “It’s not the time to deal with this,” and “What we do afterward on the civilian side, we’ll argue about it later.”

However, the group supporting resettlement of Gaza is growing and includes many younger members.

Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech, who, like Dagan, was evacuated from one of the four Israeli settlements in northern Samaria that were dismantled as part of the 2005 disengagement, also spoke to the crowd.

“Today, every citizen in the State of Israel knows that to restore security to the South, to remove from common parlance the words ‘rocket’ and ‘red alert,’ to give back to each and every child a sense of security, there is no choice but to reassert full control over Gaza.”

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