Yamit

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Yamit
ימית
PikiWiki Israel 18561 Geography of Israel.JPG
Yamit is located in Egypt
Yamit
Yamit
Location of Yamit
Coordinates: 31°16′32″N 34°10′2″E / 31.27556°N 34.16722°E / 31.27556; 34.16722Coordinates: 31°16′32″N 34°10′2″E / 31.27556°N 34.16722°E / 31.27556; 34.16722
Country Egypt
Population (2014)
 • Total 0 (2,500 before April 23, 1,982)

Yamit (Hebrew: ימית‎) was an Israeli settlement in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula[1] with a population of about 2,500 people. Yamit was established during Israel's occupation of the peninsula from the end of the 1967 Six-Day War until that part of the Sinai was handed over to Egypt in April 1982 as part of the terms of the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. Prior to the return of the land to Egypt, all the homes were evacuated and bulldozed.[2]

History[edit]

Located in the Rafah Plain region south of the Gaza Strip, Yamit was envisioned as a large city for 200,000 people that would create a buffer zone between Gaza Strip and the Sinai peninsula.[3] It was built on land in a 140,000 dunam (14,000 hectare) area. Construction of Yamit began in January 1975. When the first fifty residents arrived there were no buildings, roads, electricity or water. Nevertheless, ambitious plans were drawn up for a port, a flour mill, a Dead Sea Canal, a hotel and a university. A cornerstone was laid for a yeshiva. By the second year, the population reached 100.[4]

Despite efforts to promote Yamit's relatively affordable housing, Yamit did not attract enough residents to make it a seaport. Upon the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, it became clear to residents that Yamit's days were numbered. Most accepted compensation and relocated to other cities. Those who chose to stay were joined by nationalist supporters who moved in to boost their numbers. When the order came to evacuate Yamit by force, many of the residents barricaded themselves inside their homes, while others climbed up to their roofs as soldiers broke down their doors.[5]

Israeli soldiers evacuating Yamit by force

Expulsion[edit]

The expulsion of Jews from Yamit was part of the final stage of Israeli retreat from Sinai. It was carried out in the face of powerful domestic opposition in Israel. Moshe Arens (Likud), the head of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and professor Yuval Ne'eman, the leader of the right-wing Tehiya party, led that opposition. They wanted to stop the expulsion and revoke the peace treaty with Egypt, arguing, that once Egypt had the entire Sinai, it would cancel the peace treaty with Israel and rejoin the rest of Arab world.[6] Yamit was expelled on April 23, 1982 amid resistance by some Yamit settlers and other supporters. Some residents barricaded themselves on the rooftops before being dragged into buses by Israeli soldiers.[7] Political extremists from the rest of the country infiltrated Yamit to demonstrate their solidarity and sabotage the withdrawal.[8] Among the more extreme examples of resistance were the disciples of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who vowed to take their own lives rather than surrender. After the personal intervention of Kahane, they agreed to leave.

Since the demolition, the only structure that remains visible is a skeleton of the main synagogue, which contains no visible Jewish symbols. The eviction of Israeli civilians and military from Yamit and the Sinai Peninsula is considered as a precedent for Israel's policy of land for peace, exemplified in the Oslo Accords, the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, and the now-shelved Realignment plan.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Can Israel's right deliver peace?, BBC News
  2. ^ The meatman of Yamit
  3. ^ The meatman of Yamit
  4. ^ The meatman of Yamit
  5. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3632083.stm
  6. ^ Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p.399
  7. ^ Persin, Stephanie. "The Yamit Evacuation". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  8. ^ Shlaim, p.399