In December 2003, the Israeli Prime Minster announced his decision to "withdraw" from the Gaza Strip and four Shomron towns by the end of 2005. As these regions were home to some 10,000 Jews in 25 towns and villages, this move also meant the destruction of these communities and the removal of all the Jewish residents. Existing organisations and new grass roots movements arose to protest the government decision.
The colour Orange became the symbol of the anti-"disengagement" campaign. Orange started to appear on the Israeli scene in the middle of 2004. It increased in intensity, becoming ubiquitous in many parts of the country. People, cars, flag poles, even animals, displayed orange in some form: bracelets, clothing, flags, posters, and ribbons tied to just about everything. Orange backgrounds carried messages on t-shirts, bumper stickers, car flags and billboards. Though the messages varied over time, the predominant themes were solidarity with Gush Katif and the northern Shomron and the slogan, "Jews do not expel Jews".
Orange also became a matter of identity. It showed identification with the cause, and allowed like-minded people to locate each other.
My aim was to document the Orange phenomenon through the eye of an artist. My chosen medium is black and white photography, with orange the only colour visible. My work is not journalistic nor do I claim to have documented the entire campaign. My camera is with me wherever I go and I photograph what I see.
I photographed in many locations, both inside and outside of Gush Katif, recording the world I saw. I portray normal people going about their everyday lives: playing music, dancing, praying and even taking part in legal protests. But these people became part of a campaign against what they saw as an injustice being carried out by the government that many of them had helped to elect. Although demonised by the media, they displayed Orange as a symbol of pride and hope.
The "disengagement" started on 10th Av, 15th August. Although the last Jew and the last Israeli soldier have left Gaza, and once vibrant communities lay in ruin, Orange continues. There are new messages and new campaigns, but Orange is still there, a symbol of the past and a beacon to the future.
I have divided the photographs into two collections, those photographs taken before the Expulsion and those taken after. There are photographs in the first collection, which for various reasons, were not included in the book, while a few of those in the second collection are in the book.
View the First Collection -- photographs taken before the Expulsion