15 Years After Israeli Disengagement, Ex-Gaza Settler Opens Up On Life and Memories He Left Behind

Yedidya Harush felt “mad” with the government for evacuating his settlement of Atzmona in August 2005 as part of then-PM Sharon’s disengagement plan. But 15 years down the line, he says the pull-out from Gaza didn’t break his spirit.

Yedidya Harush talks with pain about that hot August in 2005, when in the early morning the IDF came to his house in the community of Atzmona in the southern Gaza Strip to tell him and his family to pack their belongings.

By noon, he says, their house was demolished, burying under the rubble their memories and their future.

Leaving Everything Behind

Together with the Harushes, 52 other families also lost their homes – all were flattened by the IDF and Yedidya says he could never understand what pushed his “Jewish brothers” to do this.

“For years, we had full trust in Israel’s Army. But all of a sudden the ones who had been protecting us for years came in and started kicking us out. We were respectful to them. We didn’t use force, but I was mad and upset with the entire system”.

The problem was that “the system”, or to be precise then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his government, wanted them out.

Determined to leave a mark on history and to improve the dire security situation, Sharon made it clear in 2005 that all 22 settlements dispersed across the Gaza Strip which housed 8,600 Israelis would be evacuated, erasing any Jewish presence in the area.

Right Decision?

For many it was a step in the right direction. Days before the decision to…

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