Israeli ex-Gaza communities mark third anniversary of their expulsion

In 50 ceremonies up and down the country, some 8,500 members of Gaza’s former 21 communities and many sympathizers from Israel and abroad marked the third anniversary of their forcible evacuation. More than 80 percent are still living in temporary accommodation, many still jobless. The Knesset has set up a state commission to inquire into the government’s failed handling of the Gush Katif evacuees.
Several thousand families gathered at the Kissufim crossing Wednesday, Aug. 6, vowing to return to their old homes one day.
Since the Sharon government ordered the withdrawal of Israeli military bases and the eviction of those communities in the summer of 2005, the Gaza Strip has become a stronghold of the Palestinian Hamas, which together with its allies subjected the neighboring Israeli towns and villages to daily missile and rocket attacks until a fragile ceasefire went into effect a month ago. Two ruined synagogues in the former Nevei Dekalim have become launch pads for rockets against Israeli towns and a Hamas training base.
Egypt’s guarantee to curb the weapons smuggling to Gaza Strip as part of the ceasefire deal has not held up. Israeli intelligence officials report four tons of explosives, extended-range missiles and rockets, mortar shells, heavy machine guns and other weapons have reached the Hamas army through the Sinai tunnels in recent weeks.

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