Gush Katif settlers are evacuated from Gaza 311 (R).
(photo credit: Paul Hanna / Reuters)
A bill to provide NIS 300 million to Gaza and northern Samaria evacuees passed
its third, and final, reading in the Knesset late Wednesday night.
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years after 21 settlements were demolished, the law is intended to implement the
findings of the State Commission of Inquiry into the Handling by the Authorized
Authorities of the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, published in
The law will provide funding for the evacuees that the report
said was lacking, including compensation for destroyed homes and farmland, and
support for new businesses founded by evacuees.
“The passing of this bill
gives the Knesset its respect back, six years after the disengagement,”
coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), who sponsored the bill,
“The State of Israel decided to evacuate the settlements of Gush
Katif, and it is the state’s basic responsibility to look out for the evacuees’
welfare,” he explained. “Over the past year, we in the Knesset worked to arrange
the compensation for Gush Katif evacuees, and today we can say we
“Better late than never,” Elkin added.
If Gush Katif
homeowners sign a document that they no longer demand compensation from the
state, they will receive additional payment in the amount of 7 to 11.5 percent
of the compensation originally received.
Those forced to leave businesses
and farmland will be paid according to the value of the business and their
income in Gush Katif.
Farmers will also be able to choose between two
forms of compensation: NIS 400,000 in addition to funds they have already
received, or 40 dunams within the next 12 months.
“I see this bill as the
State of Israel paying back a moral debt to those uprooted from Gush Katif,”
said Bentzi Lieberman, chairman of Tnufa, an organization meant to aid Gaza and
northern Samaria evacuees.
“Increasing compensation is a turning point,
which will allow the evacuees to complete building houses. Our job is to
continue putting energy into implementing [the inquiry committee’s] decisions,
and make sure families and communities are moved to permanent homes,” he added.