The Knesset on Tuesday held an event marking 11 years since the evacuation of Jewish communities in Gush Katif and northern Samaria.

The event was held on behalf of Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein in cooperation with the Katif Center and the Gush Katif Settlers` Committee.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog were among those who took part in the event.

”The 11 years that have passed since thousands were uprooted from their homes and surroundings – without any purpose or justification – are not enough to mend the deep fracture this uprooting created,” Speaker Edelstein said.

Knesset marks 11 years since the evacuation of communities in Gush Katif and northern Samaria

(Tuesday`s event at the Knesset)

”Gush Katif was the flagship of the settlement [enterprise] in many ways: Its residents were idealists, salt of the earth, without quotation marks; farmers and manual laborers; people of Torah and education; and above everyone was a thread of grace and giving, of mutual responsibility and self-sacrifice. Particularly because of this, I look today at Israeli reality, which was scarred by that uprooting, as well as by the violent evacuation in Amona which took place in the winter following [the Gush Katif evacuation], and I say here today, clearly, mainly due to the fears of another painful evacuation of families from their homes in Amona: We are experienced. We mustn`t cede additional parts of the land! Reconciliation or calm have never come to a place where what has been planted is uprooted. Nothing good can grow in a place where people are expelled from their homes. Under the ruin and destruction, we will strengthen the settlement [enterprise]. We will strengthen our hold on this land. We will continue to build, wherever there is life, and wherever our enemies sow violence and death, we will sow life and instill faith.”

Opposition leader Herzog told those in hand, ”It was important for me to come here today and salute you, because beyond the political disagreements, we are all brothers, and the challenge we are facing is a political one which we have never faced before. There is no doubt that beyond all the issues and despite the anger and frustration, what`s important is that we have not reached the point of `One person would eat the other alive.` I represent a camp that supported this move, and the lesson is that such an act must not be carried out in such a one-sided manner, but with the agreement of both sides. We`ll leave the political arguments for the plenum. I came here to salute you and wish you all success.”

Minister Ariel said, ”We meet at these events year after year, but the work is not done. There remain many families which we have been unable to bring to their destination, to their own land and to a state of tranquility. Looking back, this expulsion had no national purpose. The results show it was a 100 percent failure. I salute the parents and teenagers, who despite the fears of a fracture within the settler population, continue to enlist in the army and contribute to society as significantly as ever. Ideologically, we will remain with the words `we will remember and return.`”