Netzarim Junction


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.

Netzarim Junction

On September 2000, at the outset of the al-Aqsa Intifada, violence spilled from the West bank and into the Gaza Strip. Palestinian riots and militant attacks heightened both at Netzarim and also at the nearby Israeli military outpost at Netzarim junction located about two kilometres from the village. Netzarim junction being at a crossroads between the only road leaving the village as well as a north-south road used by Palestinians.

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.


The residents of Netzarim were the last to be evicted on August 22, 2005 by the Israel Defense Forces during Israel's unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip ordered by the government of Ariel Sharon. Their eviction marked the end of the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip since the end of the 1967 Six-Day War. The strong ideology and belief of its residents in God was exhibited until the very end by seedlings being planted in the greenhouses, cement being laid for a new home that very morning, and a large prayer session in the main synagogue that would later be destroyed by Palestinians after the Israeli army finally abandoned the village on September 12, 2005.

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.

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