This week, a few survivors of concentration camps who live in the Katif district of Gaza, which is scheduled for removal, decided to wear orange stars of David – reminiscent of the Holocaust-era yellow stars.

A cheap PR ploy? Well, that is what some people thought.

I know these people. I see it differently.

For the past year, our news agency has helped facilitate interviews with residents in the Katif district and in S’derot for our colleagues in the foreign media, while both areas have been under heavy artillery bombardment. Human interest stories always abound, and that is what always interests the media. In both Katif and Sderot, there are a few concentration camp survivors with a unique perspective. To put it simply, they feel abandoned once again.

That is because the leadership of the Palestinians security services and their Egyptian allies, who are directing the artillery attacks on civilian targets, are not being targeted by the IDF. And the missiles keep falling.

All this occurs even though Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert revealed to the Wall Street Journal in June 2002 that the man who heads the current terror campaign in Gaza is PLO leader Muhammad Dahlan; yet, this same individual is being nurtured by Israel to run Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel is in the process of handing over security responsibility to Egypt, even though all sources in Israeli intelligence are pointing to Egypt as the country bearing direct responsibility for giving supplies to the Palestinian terrorists now attacking civilians.

The Israeli government response has been to announce a full scale retreat from Gaza, and to force the Jews to leave their homes in Katif, which the government has announce will be bulldozed. The property of the Jews there will be handed over to the terrorists who are attacking them, while S’derot will remain under the gun of artillery attacks.

To the people of Katif and S’derot who have been through the trials and tribulations of concentration camps, with some of them also experiencing the horrors of the Russian gulag, the experience of what they are going through in Israel is just too much to bear. Each time I visit Katif and S’derot, I meet these older people, and they reminisce and ask if it is really true that the IDF is not killing the PLO leaders and if it is really true that the IDF will do nothing to forcefully stop Egypt in its actions.

The concentration camp survivors in both communities know who each other are, and they decided to act. That is why they put on the orange stars today. The PR people advised against it. They did it anyway. They want people to know that they are reliving the most traumatic aspect of the horror that they experienced 60 years ago, when the world, even the Jewish world, abandoned them.

These survivors are also media savvy. They read in Haaretz that some people are advising the government to “kill a few” Katif people to get them out of their homes. They are also aware of the startling fact that the Israeli government does not rule out the possibility that the security forces will use weapons to kick them out of their homes, especially since the October 26th decision of the government states that the government will disarm the entire population while they are under fire.

When I did my master’s in social work, one of the lessons that I learned in working with concentration camp survivors is that they do not want anyone to second-guess how they are feeling or reacting. Such is the case today in Katif and S’derot. Two Jewish communities are under mortal attack, feeling abandoned by the world. And the survivors of the trauma of 60 years ago feel it all the more so.


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.