Netzarim was an Israeli settlement in the Gush Katif bloc of settlements in Gaza. It was originally established in 1972 as a secular Nahal (Young Pioneer) outpost of the Hashomer Hatzair movement and morphed into a religiously observant kibbutz in 1984 (the residents decided to change from a kibbutz to a village a few years later). The 60 family village included about 150 adults and 350 children and was often referred to in the media as a stronghold for Religious Zionism. The primary agricultural pursuits consisted of a mango plantation, a vineyard, hothouse cultivated yams and cherry tomatoes, and a prestigious etrog plantation. The settlement also boasted day care centers, kindergartens, a primary school, a kollel, a Yeshiva, and the Jews of Gaza Heritage Institute, which documented Jewish settlement in Gaza over the generations. The development of educational institutions independent from the Gush Katif bloc was due to its isolated location and intensifying Palestinian terror attacks on traffic using the only route in during the al-Aqsa Intifada. During the last several years of its existence, transportation to and from Netzarim was permitted only with armed military escorts.
On the first day of clashes at the junction, media reported the death of Muhammad al-Dura, turning the junction into a flashpoint of increased and extended violence. As a result, the civilians at Netzarim were under siege without the ability to leave the strip, and supplies were being air-lifted inside.
After the eviction, the residents, who had prided themselves in not cooperating with any government agency involved in the eviction, were welcomed in the dormitories of the College of Judea and Samaria by the school administration, students, volunteers and residents of Ariel and the surrounding Samarian West Bank settlements. Before the beginning of the academic year, the former residents of Netzarim decided to split up into two groups. One group moved to the temporary government refugee camp of Yevul near the Egyptian border. The other group decided to stay in Ariel.