I think the following letter by Rachel Saperstein, Neve Dekalim/Nitzan in Gaza is worth reprinting, since we tend to forget just how the 8000 Israelis expelled from Gush Kativ are still struggling to get their lives together. The plan was that this should bring peace to the area but we have seen now how it has created just the opposite.
She writes "I’m still paying the mortgage on my house in Gush Katif, the house our government destroyed, and now we've added the mortgage on the house we are building in Nitzan," K says to me. We are sitting in the Nitzan Library. We speak softly. After all, we are in a library. My visiting grandchildren are selecting books.
There is a lingering sadness in each of us. The burden of the expulsion weighs heavily upon us.
Despite the saying 'time heals all wounds' apparently the wound of being forcibly removed from your own home by your own people lays open and continues to fester.
K talks about her sense of loss. "Rachel, I feel as if I'm going through another expulsion. My neighbors in the refugee camp are moving away. Their caravilla is removed from the site as soon as they leave. I experience a sense of loss as good friends leave. I know they are moving to permanent homes but I feel the pain of eviction once again. I tremble when I see the empty space that once was a home. I can't seem to pack my belongings. Having to pack once again leaves me with a sense of dread."
"My two sons are in the army" K continues as she pulls out their picture. They are officers in combat units. "Last week there was a knock on my door. It was my younger son's commanding officer, with a group from his platoon. I froze in terror! 'Has something happened to my son?' I cried.
'Your son is fine' he smiled. 'We've come to help you pack'. Though my heart was pounding, I forced myself to calm down and began to give the soldiers instructions."
There is an ambivalent reaction to our soldiers. Six years ago they came to evict us. This time, as we slowly get ready to move again, they come to help us pack. But moving leaves us with a sense of sadness as we say a temporary goodbye to our dream of returning to Gush Katif.
I hugged K. The grandchildren had selected their books and are ready to return to our caravilla for lunch.
Last night I took a walk around the area. The caravillas that we have called home have begun to disappear. Fields of weeds have taken over. Where homes remain gardens are increasingly neglected.
We who are moving to Lachish still have a long wait as building has yet to begin. We are waiting for our Housing Committee to make a final choice of builder. We are depending on the Committee to make a proper choice, a builder with a good track record. There is also the choice of the contractor for public buildings. We cannot move people into a largely unpopulated area without synagogues, a supermarket, a health clinic, kindergartens and schools. So we wait.
As we complete six years of expulsion this Tisha bAv we contemplate the irony that the stories of expulsions on this terrible date for the Jewish Nation will now include the expulsion of Jews by Jews.