In May 2005, a frustrated Ariel Sharon, in rolled-up sleeves and an open collar,
admonished contractors in Nitzan for not moving fast enough to prepare for the
resettlement of evacuees in the coming summer’s disengagement.
working with all your might,” the then-prime minister ordered as he pounded on a
car, where maps of government plans had been unrolled for his
Five years later, the State Commission of Inquiry into the
Handling of the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria by the
Authorities found a large gap between the rhetoric and action involved
treatment of people from 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in
“Many of the ministries viewed the mission of rehabilitating the
evacuees as just another routine matter laid upon their desks, and they
their own agenda for handling it,” stated the 488-page report presented
Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Five years since they lost their homes, according
to the report, more than 70 percent of the evacuees still live in
dwellings. The report charged that part of the delay was caused by
“The picture formed by the testimony is very
worrisome and requires mobilization at the national level to change the
situation,” said the report.
Evacuees paid the price for needless
bureaucratic obstacles, such as cabinet and Knesset Finance Committee
for the budgeting of even small amounts of money. They also faced overly
adherence” to tender laws, disputes between ministries, and lack of
and creativity in resolving problems, it said.
The report also charged
that in some cases government decisions had simply not been implemented.
example, the 2004 decision to forgive the evacuees’ debts to the World
Organization’s settlement division was frozen until 2008, and was
In examining other matters, the report said the five-month
period between the enactment of the Disengagement Implementation Law and
evacuation itself had not given the evacuees enough time to properly
temporary living arrangements.
“This affected both the cost of
construction and the quality of the structures, as well as the
conditions of the
contracts that were hastily signed with receiving settlements,” stated
report regarding modular housing.
The tight timing also meant that
evacuees were initially placed in hotels – at great cost to the state
emotional suffering for the families – instead of being transferred
the modular homes.
The report chastised some of the evacuees, saying they
“made a significant contribution to creating the current dismal
settlers failed to cooperate with the authorities, tarried where they
have hastened, and made excessive demands, said the report.
particular, the report attacked the Hof Aza Regional Council, which
many of the settlers. It charged that through its oppositional attitude
the disengagement, it “abandoned its role as a government arm that is
to act to uphold the law for the benefit of its residents.”
it said that the Samaria Regional Council had been “empathetic to the
while preparing for the future.”
The report also faulted individual
settlers who did not communicate with the government prior to the
although it said this attitude was understandable and anticipated.
also said it was unclear whether the lack of cooperation had been a
factor in the delays that followed, but added that the state was still
responsible for the delays in resettlement.
According to the report, the
state in particular erred in its preparations for resettlement by
most of the evacuees would prefer to relocate individually. In
percent insisted that they wanted to relocate together with their
newly created communities.
Once legislation was created to handle this
type of arrangement, no restrictions were placed on the communal
agreements, which were designed to allow people who had lived together
to continue to do so by way of assisting in their rehabilitation.
costly instances, however, these agreements were applied to small groups
people who had not been neighbors.
Such agreements “cost the state a
fortune” and “granted the settlers excessive benefits that included the
allocation of valuable lands in high-demand areas in the center of the
and created unjustified gaps between different groups of evacuees,” said
The implementation of these community relocation mechanisms “was
tainted with failures and constituted one of the main factors in
rehabilitation of the evacuees,” stated the report.
Looking to the
future, the report called for all evacuees to be permanently resettled
end of 2011. It also suggested that the state devise a plan to relocate
entire population, not just for political reasons, but also in the event
natural disaster or decision to implement a largescale public venture.