Beit El and Gush KatifDespite his promise to freeze plans to expel the Jewish residents of Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood from their homes, Prime Minister Netanyahu's Civil Administration has made plans to house those residents in caravillas (mobile homes) should they be expelled from their homes on June 30.
Ynet has learned that the administration is working on a plan through which Beit El land would be allocated for caravillas which would be constructed for the use of the evictees.For the Jewish state to expel Jews from their homes is a disgrace, and residents of Judea and Samaria have been holding a hunger strike against the decree in a protest tent outside the Supreme Court. Of course, you won't see that covered in the New York Times, but I haven't seen it covered in the Jerusalem Post or YNet either. Here's a picture I was sent (Hat Tip: Varda N).
Over the past few weeks the defense establishment has held deliberations over possible temporary housing solutions that could be offered to the Ulpana residents after the eviction.
At first, they raised the possibility of temporarily housing the evacuees in hotels, yet new plans reveal the intention of settling them in caravillas until a permanent solution is arranged.
The Civil Administration's settlement sub committee is set to meet on Thursday in order to approve the construction of 30 temporary housing units for evacuees.
At the beginning of the month the High Court denied the State's petition to review the case and postpone the evacuation, imposing a July 1 deadline for its razing.
Prime Minister Netanyahu managed to convince right wing MKs to remove deliberations on the Arrangements Law from the agenda; they agreed to freeze promotion of the bill in order to give the government time to settle the issue.
Netanyahu then instructed Defense Minister Ehud Barak to halt all demolition preparations. Yet the defense establishment is apparently ignoring this directive and has been continuing to prepare for the July 1 deadline.
Beit El residents have expressed their anger over the fact that plans for evacuation are continuing, ignoring the prime minister's directives.
The IDF Spokesman said in response: "The IDF is holding ongoing discussions with the settlement leaders…mainly over the issues of defense and security aspects. Naturally these meetings are private and we will not address what was said (in the meetings)."
The only silver lining in this cloud is that the caravillas, which are far more likely than not to become permanent homes for a lengthy period of time, are going to be located in Beit El. Perhaps this is the time to look at some statistics regarding the Jewish refugees from Gaza, who were expelled from their homes seven years ago this summer. This is from a United Nations report(!) from June 2011.
About 230 of the 1,450 families from Gush Katif (16 percent) have moved into permanent homes, according to a December 2010 report released by the Gush Katif “committee”.And for those who think that the Ulpana neighborhood is going to be 'evacuated' quietly with the soldiers called in to do the job embracing the residents in tears, consider this.
Unemployment among former Gush Katif residents is running at about 18 percent, while under-employment is 20 percent, said the “committee”. Before the withdrawal, unemployment was 5 percent, with 85 percent working in Gush Katif, according to JobKatif, an NGO created to help former residents rebuild their livelihoods.
While unemployment is much worse in Gaza, the unemployment rate among the evacuees is about double the rate of the general Israeli population. Children have faced adjustment issues and the divorce rate increased, along with financial problems, say former residents. Government compensation that was received, was lower than the value of the land and did not allow farmers to re-establish their farms, according to the “committee”.
Shilat Kahalani, spokesperson for the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council which covers 42 Israeli settlements in the West Bank (known as Judea and Samaria to Israelis), told IRIN that many former Gush Katif residents wanted to rebuild their homes and lives in the West Bank, but were prevented from doing so by a building moratorium which was only lifted in September 2010, having been in force for 10 months.
About 380 farms existed in Gushi Katif (of which 240 were operational), but only 28 percent of the owners of agricultural land have resumed farming. Most business owners, too, have not returned to their trade and were not appropriately compensated, according to the “committee”.
“Disengaging a community is not something that can be rebuilt easily, and many families never received promised full financial support,” Kahalani said.
A June 2010 report on the findings of the Israeli “State Commission of Inquiry into the Handling of the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria by the Authorized Authorities”, placed blame on the state of Israel.
“The State of Israel failed in its handling of the evacuees,” it said. “Five years after, most of the evacuees are still living in temporary caravan sites; the construction of most of the permanent housing has not yet commenced; and the decisive majority of the public structures in the evacuees’ new settlements have not yet been built.”
“It was a mission of the government to settle people in Gaza,” said former Gush Katif resident Debbie Rosen, and “there must be a solution for every settler”. She received half the value of her home in Gush Katif, and she and her six children are still waiting for their new house to be built, she added.
“People in my community are unwilling to be evacuated because on a personal level they witnessed the awful outcomes of such a disengagement on the lives of the Gush Katif evacuees,” Binyamin council spokesperson Kahalani said.If this expulsion actually goes ahead, we will likely be looking at another Amona.