(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Disengagement Authority has formulated rules regarding the transfer of agricultural land to Gush Katif farmers who decide to continue farming after the evacuation.

In a letter to Agriculture Ministry Director-General Yossi Shai, Disengagement Authority Director Yonatan Basi wrote that in the wake of the Government’s decision from two weeks ago and in light of Attorney General Meni Mazuz’s guidelines on changes in these decisions, and following coordination with the Finance Ministry Budget Division, settlers who own active agricultural lands who request to move together to alternative agricultural lands in a group framework of at least 20 farmers will – in the context of an agreement that was signed with them in accordance with article 85 of the Evacuation Compensation Law – also be able to receive alternative agricultural land as detailed below:

A. As a rule, it will be possible to purchase agricultural land for these groups from the regular holdings of cooperative associations in “A” national priority areas, the size of which will be in proportion to the area worked by each farmer in the group.

B. For lands that are purchased as per the foregoing, the Disengagement Authority will pay $3,000 per dunam of developed land.

C. A farmer whose worked greenhouse lands were less than 40 dunams will be able to receive up to 40 developed dunams; however, the sum that the Disengagement Authority will make available for the completion of the size of the agricultural land to 40 dunams will be $1,500 (and not $3,000) per dunam.

D. The farmer will, if necessary, be eligible to complete the value of the purchase.

E. In return for the allocation of agricultural land, the farmer will have to forfeit the compensation legally due to him given the size of the holding’s agricultural area.

F. “A” national priority areas according to the Encouragement of Capital Investment in agriculture Law will be expanded to include the communities located south of the Nitzan-Kiryat Malachi line.

As of now, the Disengagement Authority and the Agriculture Ministry have located 1,600 dunams belonging to Kibbutz Zikim for approximately 60 farmers and approximately 500 dunams from Moshav Mavki’im, where the Jewish Agency is due to begin work this week on preparing the ground for approximately 20 farmers. The Disengagement Authority and the Agriculture Ministry are also engaged in locating approximately 700 dunams for organic farmers in order to move them into one agricultural area. There are 166 active farmers in the Gaza Strip.