The fate meted out to the ten thousand Jews who were booted out of their homes in Gush Katif by Ariel Sharon was “unfortunate, but it was necessary,” according to his son, Gilad Sharon.
In an interview with Army Radio, the son of the late prime minister, whose 2005 Disengagement plan spelled a death sentence for the Jewish communities of Gush Katif, said that a decade after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, “no one misses that area. Even if some of those who left Gush Katif do miss it, most of them don't."
“After all, we returned to all the places we had held in Gaza during last summer's Operation Protective Edge,” said Sharon. “No one, except for a few nuts, suggested that we remain there.”
Another similarity to the situation that existed back then that shows up now, said Sharon, is the fact that no one wants to serve in Gaza. “Nowadays no parent would accept their child serving in Gaza unless it was necessary during war, and back then no one wanted to either.” That is why, Sharon said, Israel decided to completely abandon Gaza. “There was talk of the IDF remaining even if the settlements were removed, but no one was interested in remaining embedded in the mire of terror and death that is Gaza,” he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, it will be recalled, broke with Sharon over the Disengagement, and Sharon left Likud and established the Kadima party, which became officially defunct in this year's elections. However, according to the younger Sharon, Netanyahu actually supported the Disengagement. “I recall him standing on the Knesset podium and shouting at Uri Ariel that he 'should make no mistake, I will support the plan if there is a referendum. There is a limit even to Zionism.'”
Overall, said Sharon, the Disengagement was a success. “We cannot ignore that fact that the lives of hundreds of people were saved. It was difficult and painful, but necessary. My father was not naïve, and he knew our neighbors only too well. He realized they would always choose terror over peaceful, affluent coexistence.”
Sharon believed that by leaving Gaza, Israel would be in a better position to respond to terror attacks. “The night he was hospitalized with this stroke, I heard him speaking to top generals and telling them to bomb Gaza” after a provocation. “I can say one thing – Ariel Sharon knew how to deal with terror.”
The interview did not cover the direct result of the Disengagement – the takeover of Gaza by Hamas in 2007, the three wars Israel has had to wage against Hamas since then, and the tens of thousands of missiles that have been fired at Israel, since Hamas took control of the Gaza staging area.