Col. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, the religious officer who was placed in charge of the “Disengagement,” as the expulsion of Jews from Gaza in 2005 was called, says the move was a mistake, but that he did the right thing by obeying orders to carry it out.
In an interview on Channel 10, marking ten years after the event, Hacohen said: “I would rather that the Disengagement had not happened, but my world outlook says that if something happened, even if I did not want it to happen, I have to think about how it assists in achieving the vision that we aspire to.”
"Evacuating the Jews from Gush Katif was an expulsion,” Hacohen admitted. “There is no doubt that it was a mistake. A homeland is something one fights for, it is not something one negotiates for.”
Hacohen argued that he had no choice but to take part in the expulsion.
“Had I refused to be the commander of the evacuation, it would have led to a worse situation,” he explained. “If I and our group [of religious Zionist officers] had left at that time, the IDF would have been purged of a class of people that some people wanted it purged of.”
Hacohen opined that the protest against the Disengagement was not large enough. “If hundreds of thousands of people had attended the protest at Kfar Maimon (the largest single protest against the Disengagement – ed.) and not just 10-20 thousand, it would have been possible to portray the objection to the expulsion as something that has the backing of the nation, and not just something that matters for a sector and the few people who live there.”