Tracey Shipley
Youth, family and addictions counselor/creative therapist/band organizer and manager/event producer/writer

Feeling inspired! Time to prepare the return to Gaza

Funeral of children murdered on October 7th

The other day I had the opportunity to visit the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem.  I have been there before but it never had such an impact on me as it did yesterday. The reasoning of course is clear to us all, well then again to those of us who are not anti-Israel and antisemitic. Then I see a video on Instagram with Hillary Clinton who I must admit is not my favorite politician, speaking the Truth about the Palestinian leaders. She was there when her husband Bill offered Arafat the deal of a lifetime for a Palestinian state and he backed away, much to Clinton’s huge chagrin. She continued speaking about Israel’s 2004 withdrawal from Gush Katif — Gaza, offering the whole area to the Palestinians for a “Palestinian state” dangerously adjacent to the border of Israel.

As she explains, Israel developed a virtual wasteland into an absolute paradise inventing invaluable irrigation systems waking up the land to serve its residents as well as people all over the world. Not only did the Israelis living in Gush Katif build hundreds of greenhouses and establish a viable irrigation system unheard of beforehand, the exports of the greenhouses, owned by 200 farmers, came to $200 million per year and made up 15% of Israeli agricultural exports. The assets in Gush Katif were estimated at $23 billion, the largest in the country.

.Needless to say, when it was turned over to the Palestinian Authority not only were the greenhouses not used, they were looted and destroyed.  Imagine how the Palestinians living in the Gush could have benefitted from the infrastructure left for them.  With only the income from the greenhouses, they wouldn’t need “charity” from the countries and organizations all over the world.  It is said that no other country comes close to receiving the amount of donations per capita that Palestinian Gazans did except for Syria. According to World Bank data, for all countries receiving more than $2 billion in international aid in 2012, Gaza and the West Bank received a per capita aid budget over double the next largest recipient, at a rate of $495. My question is why? What is wrong with this people that they cannot be self-supporting?  Why are they always victims that need to be taken care of?  How is the world helping them by throwing money at them never expecting them to “step up to the plate?”

With no logical answer to the latter question let’s look at a bit of history about the Gaza withdrawal. Ariel Sharon was the prime minister of Israel from 2001-2006. The idea of disengagement was originally proposed to Sharon and he vehemently opposed the idea. Then when his public popularity began to falter and he was being accused along with his sons of impropriety, things changed drastically.

“Sharon, together with his associates, observed the situation like a poker player,” stated Moshe Ya’alon, the then IDF chief of staff.  “He analyzed the advantages and the disadvantages of the other players and figured out how to make them work for him, to extricate him from his predicament both in the legal and the public arenas. The direct result of this analysis was the disengagement.”

Journalists Raviv Drucker and Ofer Shelah wrote in their book “Boomerang” that “behind the scenes, there were many, even among Sharon’s most intimate confidants, who were convinced that the disengagement plan would never have been hatched if Sharon didn’t need to avert the spotlight away from the investigations against him and his sons.”

As I read on about the history of the plan to disengage from Gaza I saw that Sharon was not the first politician to entertain the idea.  It was considered by Ehud Barak and others but ultimately implemented by Sharon.

I could go on and on about how and why we made the decision to leave Gush Katif however at this point it is irrelevant.  As always we are hindered by the public opinion of the world to do what is right for the citizens of Israel.  We have always entered wars and conflicts on the defense, never starting our wars. In the end, we always win due to two main factors- Israel having the best and most experienced (sadly) army and defense force in the world and as many will say having “God” on our side.  How else can we explain the six-day war and our defeat of our enemies time and time again for virtually thousands of years.

On October 7th of this year, the truth came out.  By giving away Gush Katif we allowed Hamas to create an enemy state in our backyard.  Virtually all of the “support” of the EU, UNRWA, the US, and more, given to Gaza in order to assist the Palestinians in creating their own autonomous state was used to build a war machine including massive tunnels and the purchase of weapons with one goal in mind, the destruction of the state of Israel with all of its citizens.  The massacre occurring on October 7th perpetrated by hundreds of Palestinians calling themselves Hamas including employees of UNRWA, demonstrated to Israel that we cannot trust anyone.  With the understanding that Hamas has created little to no infrastructure to provide jobs for its Palestinian citizens, Israel provided visas for 20,000 Gazans to enter Israel to work. Countless recipients of these visas in addition to many Israeli Arab citizens assisted the terrorists in murdering over 1500 citizens of Israel, men, women, and children in the most unthinkable way. Add to that capturing hundreds of innocent people from babies to the elderly, those not yet killed still in captivity with no assistance from the Red Cross or Women’s organizations all over the world. These organizations are fully aware of the fact that the hostages are being raped and tortured inside the dark tunnels of Hamas in Gaza yet have not even attempted to assist them or even speak up about them. Why is that? The only answer in many of our eyes is because most of them are Jews.

I was told that the Germans who participated in murdering Jews during the Holocaust often had to get drunk the night before to allow their conscience to perpetrate the atrocities.  Not only did the Hamas murderers not need to be inebriated to commit the massacre, as they were raping, torturing, and butchering their victims from children, and babies to the elderly they were filming their “accomplishments” while calling up their mothers to brag about how many people they had killed.  Sadly but not surprisingly the responses were, why didn’t you kill more?

People visit the site of the Supernova music festival massacre near Kibbutz Re’im, Nov. 30, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90

The only comforting thing for many of us that came out of this horrific event was our ability to see who our friends really are.  Antisemites came out of the woodwork and showed their true ugly faces.  Countries that pretended to be our allies showed their true sides as well.  Yet most importantly, the Israeli people came together.  The rifts in our society began to disappear.  Left, Right, Religious, and Secular all became One, joining the effort to defeat our enemies.  Thousands of Jews from around the world came “home” joining the Israeli Army in efforts to win over yet another Goliath.

On a personal level my amazing brother, the first American to be inducted into Israel’s secret commando unit plans to move back to Israel after decades in the US.  His wife cheering on the move as a response to the worst war we have ever fought. Their daughter who is a natural Israeli will be following suit.  So many have considered moving to Israel yet needed an impetus.  This war against Israel, Jews, and Humanity gave that to them.  For that I am grateful.

After all of this background, the real reason I wanted to write this blog post was to state that we cannot allow this situation to continue.  There will be No Palestinian State adjunct to Israel. Jews create, invent, build, and support the land and not only each other but others as well.  Time and time again we assist our local Arabs and get stabbed in the back by so many. Giving Gush Katif away to the Palestinian leaders led to the establishment of a terrorist state and a state abusive to its own residents.  We have no choice but to take back Gush Katif, actually all of Gaza, even the  80% given away by Yitzhak Rabin so many years ago.  This land developed by Jewish settlers is calling us back.  Enough is Enough!!!

I wholeheartedly believe that it is not only our right but our responsibility to return to Gaza and once again make it what it was meant to be, a seaside paradise bringing Israel billions of dollars worth of exports.  Leading the effort for this idea is Daniella Weiss, the 78-year-old godmother of the settler movement, who says she is certain Jews will return to live in Gaza in her lifetime.

Quoting a CNN article “Weiss said 500 families have already signed up to resettle through her organization Nachala, whose name means “inheritance.” One of Nachala’s members told the group they were sending a representative to Florida to raise money for the cause.  Nachala already receives support from groups in the US, including Americans for a Safe Israel, even as the Biden administration strengthens its opposition to settlements in the West Bank.”

Upon visiting the Gush Katif museum located in Nachlaot down the street from our home, I turned to my husband and asked him if he would move there with me once the government opens the gates for us and thousands who would surely join us.  His answer without any hesitation, was yes, of course I would.  I must say that after years of being involved with co-existence organizations focusing on the youth, I do believe that there are Palestinians in Gaza who do not support Hamas but are afraid to speak up due to the policy of killing every opponent of this regime.  After thousands of shipments of relief supplies have been flowing into Gaza only to be retrieved by members of Hamas and not being shared with the citizens for whom they were meant, there is certainly a huge wake-up call to Gazans who once believed that Hamas cared about them.  The problem being in my eyes that 80% of the Gazan population supported Hamas and turned a blind eye to the massive abuse of funds meant for the citizens being averted toward the war effort against Israel.  Personally, I would clean out Gaza of everyone giving citizenship only to those who can prove that they were not a part of the October massacre and that they support the Jewish State, the only country in the Middle East to give their Arab residents including women the rights they are not afforded in any other Arab country. Treating others as we wish to be treated is what Jews do. War is still raging in Israel with rockets still being shot over our borders.  We are being attacked from the north and South.  Most of the world is either silent or telling us to stop our incursion into Gaza and our counterattacks toward our Northern Border. We will continue to protect our citizens as is our right and duty.  Nowhere in the world would this be tolerated.  We will not tolerate it anymore.  Am Yisrael Hai- The People of Israel Will Live On throughout our country.  Gaza awaits us! Sign me up!!!

About the Author
Tracey Shipley is a youth and family counselor specializing in addictions and family communication. She was born in the US and moved to Israel in 1984 to continue her studies in Art Therapy. She moved back to the US in 1989 and began working in a drug rehab for teens where she was trained while she worked as a primary counselor. She moved back to Israel in 1996 and continued her work in addictions at the Jerusalem Methadone Clinic for a total of 9 years. She initiated projects for the children of the addicts at the Methadone Clinic, Established a program for Ethiopian Teens educating them about their culture and opened the Jerusalem School of Rock program which helps to create teen rock bands and established monthly teen music events at downtown venues where teens perform for their friends in a teen friendly exciting atmosphere. In addtion to her projects Tracey was the English Speaking Volunteer Coordinator for Emunah Jerusalem succeeding in bringing in more funds and volunteers than ever before. Tracey organizes monthly Rock Festivals and manages rock bands young and old. Tracey also writes for Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post.
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