(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following are Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s remarks at the start of the meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan this morning (Wednesday), 8 June 2005:
“Recently, there has been an unbridled attack against the Government over the non-implementation of its preparations ahead of the evacuation. Without a doubt this has been done by political elements, by groups that are working against the disengagement. These discussions are held frequently and I have invited the media this morning in order to refute the disinformation being disseminated on these issues by bodies that want to prevent the disengagement.
The Government is energetically preparing to provide solutions for each evacuee. I emphasize that each evacuee has a solution and we will present them during the discussion. I want to stress that the law on implementing the Disengagement Plan provides a full solution for every settler.
I decided to make it easier on the evacuees to take additional steps that are mainly designed to enable the moving of entire communities since it is their desire to live in the communities that they have been living in up until now. This point has been seen by them as important up until now and, therefore, we recently held consultations and set a registration date for evacuees who want temporary housing.
We did so well aware of the last date for registration. We cannot build everywhere in the country and the intention is for temporary housing without the evacuees having to commit themselves to living in these places. We did this for those who are due to live in Nitzan and 426 families have registered there.
The problem was that it takes time to do the infrastructure work before setting up the temporary structures and therefore we determined a date. It must be understood that the people from the Gaza Strip are being pressured by all kinds of bodies, both external and internal, and the registration has, therefore, been proceeding slowly. We therefore determined a date so that it would be possible to do all the work. The work at Nitzan is going ahead at full force despite various acts of sabotage.
Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Herzog will brief us on the various possibilities. An additional possibility is to rent apartments. The plan provides for rent payments for up to two years, with a distinction being made between those who are building homes and are eligible for rental assistance for up to two years, and those who are not building and who are eligible for rental assistance for up to one year. We are also making preparations at various other sites, but there the infrastructure work and the setting up of temporary structures depends on the settlers’ statement that they are moving there. The intention was to make it easier for the settlers. For example, the residents of northern Samaria received the same $30,000 per family grant that is given in the Galilee, even to those who are moving to Afula or Gan-Ner.
We hear about an initiative to set up a tent city. Of course this is a political tool, not a solution; there are other, better solutions. If they want to live in a tent camp, we cannot prevent this. We do not dictate to people where to live. I see this as a political action, a struggle against the Government and the intention to stop the disengagement. I repeat: We have various housing solutions.
I have given instructions that within a few days, announcements will be published regarding the addresses of apartments and the number of rooms in them; it will be impossible to claim that there are no apartments or that people don’t know where to go. This is, of course, for those who haven’t registered. Those who registered for temporary housing will receive solutions from us.
There are those who hope that the disengagement will not be carried out. I want to say unequivocally that it will be carried out on schedule and in accordance with Government and Knesset approval. No activity of any kind, including illegal activity, will delay the implementation of the Disengagement Plan. Israel will leave Gaza and northern Samaria.
I want to appeal to the settlers. Approximately 50% of the settlers are in contact with us on some level. I want to say that the compensation funds are waiting for you. Disbursing compensation must be done in an orderly fashion; this takes some weeks. Postponing things is not worthwhile. It is worthwhile to register immediately. There will be no grounds for post facto claims that they are not enough. There are funds for this and you must apply, register and contact the Disengagement Authority. I want to ask the settlers to show responsibility towards your children. There is a solution for every child. No child will remain without an educational framework. It would be a pity not to get things done as soon as possible.
I want to tell all those who are participating in incitement and related activities: The decision is not easy but it will be carried out in full and therefore, all of the various activities are only causing needless suffering to the settlers.”