Gaza pullout commander says settlers will return to the Strip

Posted By on June 17, 2015

The newly retired Israeli general who served as the commander of the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 came out strongly on Monday against the notion of a two-state solution, saying that the demographic reasoning behind the removal of Jewish settlers was a manipulation and that Israel would yet build settlements in the Strip.

Maj. Gen. (res) Gershon Hacohen, who comes from a family of national religious rabbis and is himself a believer, was tapped to head the August 2005 Disengagement Plan precisely because of his deep ties to the settlement movement.

Over the years he has revealed how difficult the decision was for him on a personal level. On Monday, at a settlers conference for advocacy and media in Jerusalem, he told a semi-circle of still grieving settlers, after his formal address, that my heart was with you there and that I didnt want it to happen.

When a man from the Jewish settlement in Hebron told him he should have served as an example and stepped down the moment he received the order, he replied, You have no idea how much worse it would have been had I not been there.

Forgiveness, he said, was something he would seek from the Ruler of the World.

A Jewish settler argues with a female soldier during the disengagement from the Gaza Strip on August 17, 2005. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/ Flash90)

The pullout from Gaza was part of prime minister Ariel Sharons plan to draw formal state borders and to receive US backing for unilateral moves that may have continued into the West Bank but likely would not have included all of the territory won in the Six Day War.

Speaking from the podium before a nearly entirely religious crowd, many of whom still feel hurt by the move, Hacohen said that the withdrawal had been an experiment and that the very idea of partition and of two states for two peoples was anachronistic.

Those who speak of a two-state solution, he said, belong to the 20th century. Whoever is part of the 21st century understands: one state.

Hacohen said that in an age of asymmetric warfare, civilian settlements were, once again, a pillar of Israels security. He added that even his dead mother, who lies in dust on the Mount Olives, was fulfilling a strategic role in holding a patch of earth.

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Gaza pullout commander says settlers will return to the Strip

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