Directors General of relevant government ministries were briefed on the progress of rehabililtating former Gush Katif residents.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ra’anan Dinur held a briefing on 22 July 2008 at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, to mark three years since the implementation of the Disengagement Plan. He gave updated data on the situation of the evacuees from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria. Other participants in the briefing included Construction and Housing Ministry Director-General Dr. Haim Fialkov, SELA Disengagement Authority Director Tzvia Shimon, Israel Lands Administration Director-General Yaron Bibi, and Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry Deputy Director-General Yossi Yishai.
The SELA Disengagement Authority reported that approximately NIS 8 billion has been invested thus far in the disengagement process and the rehabilitation of the evacuees. This includes Defense Ministry costs, compensation funds, investment in infrastructure, and social assistance intended to maintain the family and communal life to which the residents were accustomed.
As a lesson from the Sinai evacuation and on the basis of studies conducted among the Yamit evacuees, the Government is allowing interested residents to maintain communal cohesion by establishing new communities or joining existing communities. Any group of at least 20 eligible families may request to take part in the agreement, which entitles it to a new community or a separate neighborhood in the expansion of an existing community.
PMO Dir.-Gen. Dinur: “Reestablishing communities, as determined in the Disengagement Law, is the impetus for adjustment which aims to put the welfare of the evacuees above everything. Most of the SELA Disengagement Authority’s resources are directed to advancing communal solutions. Today, three years after the Disengagement, there is a solution for every resident. Our data indicates that 72% of the families evacuated from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria have already realized the solution that was provided for them in the framework of reestablishing communities.”
Some of the evacuees who received plots of land from the State have already begun to build permanent homes. This includes the residents of Nitzanim, who constitute 13% of the eligible families. The last of these agreed only recently to take part in lotteries for plots of land (even though they could have done so a year ago), which are set to take place in September. Immediately afterwards, the residents will be able to start building their permanent homes. In addition, the SELA Disengagement Authority estimates that several hundred of "the next generation" – grown children of the evacuated residents – will be able to purchase plots near their parents, without a tender and according to a payment schedule.
The estimated cost of compensation and to set up temporary and permanent communities stands at approximately NIS 3 million per family. The SELA Disengagement Authority is working with Knesset members to implement an agreement on additional compensation and special grants, at an overall cost of NIS 640 million.
Among the additional benefits that have been added are: grants of up to NIS 185,000 for eligible families that owned private homes; grants of up to NIS 140,000 to all those who were 18 years old on the day of evacuation and who intended to build homes in the communities in which they lived; grants for children who were younger than 3 at the time of evacuation; adjustment expenses for an additional period for evacuees who have yet to become integrated in the labor market, and additional grants.
SELA Disengagement Authority Director Shimon: “After three years of intensive effort that included closely accompanying the evacuees and preparing infrastructures throughout the country, the evacuees have received most of the compensation due to them, as well as the tools and infrastructure to rebuild their homes. A small group of a few dozen families remains who are delaying the rehabilitation process for reasons that are not clear to us. I call on those families to come to the Authority, sign agreements and embark on a new path. The foundations have already been laid, despite opposition, and I hope that we are on the verge of a year marked by accelerated construction and activity.”
Gaza Strip farmers
Today, three years after the Disengagement, approximately 80 out of the 160 landowners who were actively farming in Gush Katif have established new farms on rented land or on alternative land they received from the State. Approximately 100 farmers are due to receive land in the coming year.
SELA Disengagement Authority data indicates that, as of now, the average Gush Katif farmer has received compensation, directly or indirectly, of up to NIS 5 million for his plot of land. Agriculture professionals believe that the compensation and grants allow for the establishment of new greenhouses on a greater scale than the farmers had in Gush Katif.
Settling national priority areas
In response to the residents’ requests, the Government is promoting approximately 24 settlement locations, from the Golan Heights to the western Negev. Over 80% of Gush Katif evacuees will build their permanent homes in the south of the country. Seven new communities have been built by the SELA Authority, and five existing communities have been expanded. 755 Gush Katif evacuee families are now living in the south and several hundred "next generation" families are due to buy land there.
In addition to assistance provided for infrastructure construction, the SELA Disengagement Authority is investing major resources in social and personal assistance to the evacuees – families, individuals, teenagers and soldiers. As of today, the Government has passed 16 resolutions on social and educational assistance, at an overall cost of NIS 100 million.
From MFA website, 22 August 2005:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this evening (Monday), 22 August 2005, convened a meeting of the Ministerial Disengagement Committee. At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister made the following remarks:
“The objective of all Government ministries is the resettling of the settlers in their new communities. Every ministry is committed to doing this in the immediate term, while the settlers are in hotels, both temporarily and until the permanent communities are built. I want to tell you not to wait until the evacuated settlers come to you; go to them immediately. We are now being tested regarding the degree to which we succeed in dealing with the evacuees as quickly as possible; therefore, see this as your main current mission.”