The State of Israel failed completely in its resettlement of the Gaza
Samaria evacuees, according to the definitive report released Tuesday by
State Commission of Inquiry into the Handling by the Authorized
the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria.
Close to five years
since they were forcibly removed from their homes in August 2005, the
showed that more than 70 percent of them lack permanent housing and are
in temporary dwellings.
56 MKs: Let
evacuees build in Ariel
It’s Gush Katif
education week at 400 schools
“I feel worn-out from saying ‘we told you so,’
which is what we’ve been saying for five years,” said Hagit Yaron, a former Gush
Katif community organizer.
At the time of the Gaza withdrawal, settlers
were already complaining that the government was unprepared to relocate
that its promises of a “solution for every evacuee” were simply
Earlier, at a Jerusalem press conference, commission
Eliyahu Mazza, former deputy president of the Supreme Court, said the
of the evacuees was “an absolute, complete failure” on the part of both
government and the bureaucracy.
The panel’s 488-page report was
Tuesday to the Knesset and to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who
had promised the evacuees new homes within a year.
examined efforts by the government to resettle the 9,000 people removed
communities in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria, documented
state had failed to properly compensate the evacuees, resulting in a
social problems for those forced to relocate.
“Five years after
evacuation, an examination of the results discloses an extremely dismal
Most of the evacuees are still living in temporary caravan sites; the
construction of most of the permanent housing has not yet commenced; the
decisive majority of the public structures in the evacuees’ new
not yet been built; the rate of unemployment among the evacuees is
rate of unemployment in the general population; the economic state of
the evacuees is very bad, and there are more than a few among them in
assistance from the welfare entities… it was therefore found that the
rehabilitating the evacuees is far from completed,” the report
The issue of whether or not the disengagement was a wise
political decision or reaped diplomatic or security benefits for the
not investigated by the committee, which dealt solely with the
those evacuated.Netanyahu says he will work to implement
After receiving the
report on Tuesday, Netanyahu told
the commission that he would work to implement its recommendations,
goal is to bring each one of the evacuees into their permanent homes;
our obligation as a government.”
He added that “we will not
Mazza added that while the blame for the failure
the previous government, headed by Ehud Olmert, the onus for correcting
problems was upon the Netanyahu government, and “if it doesn’t find a
to the problem, it will be an accomplice to the failure.”
fellow commission members Dr. Shimon Ravid and Bar-Ilan University Prof.
Z. Stern said that the government failures detailed in the report boded
for any future resettlements – which, they noted, might not necessarily
from a diplomatic agreement. Resettlement of large numbers of people in a
time could also be required if there were a large-scale natural disaster
sudden wave of immigration following a political development
Mazza noted that the committee hadn’t ignored the
by the evacuees as the disengagement loomed, saying that “the behavior
evacuees did, many times, contribute to their failure to
This was due, to a large degree, to the decision of
people not to cooperate with authorities or let them know what they
what was most important to them.
“Many people refused to deal
authorities because of their ideology,” he added. “Many believed that
disengagement wouldn’t go through; that a miracle would stop it. But the
didn’t come, and the disengagement happened.”
Even though the
refusal to cooperate with authorities was “problematic and expected,”
it did not make up for the failure of the government to accommodate the
evacuees, adding that the government bore the brunt of the
the social ills caused by the disengagement.
“The government is
that brought them out of their homes,” Mazza said.
declined to lay blame on individuals, saying that such accusations would
long, drawn-out legal proceedings that would delay the implementation of
report’s findings, Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev didn’t hesitate
name names.'Ariel Sharon among those most to blame'
prime minister] Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, along
with [the former director- general of the Prime Minister’s Office under
Ilan Cohen and [then-deputy attorney-general for civilian affairs] Sarit
are the most to blame,” said Orlev.
The Olmert government had
hostile toward the evacuees, he said. He called on Netanyahu to correct
problems found in the report as quickly as possible.
came during a press conference held in Jerusalem on Tuesday by the
Gush Katif organization, which was marked by the theme of “we told you
At the beginning of the conference, Gush Katif Evacuees
chairman Doron Ben-Shlomi said that “the suffering caused by the
is something that no report or public discussion can change; the only
can help is to start our lives anew in a nicer place than where we are
Yaron criticized the government for ignoring the communal
that the evacuees had been forced to leave behind, saying that “the
carry out the disengagement in a communal way; they treated us as
instead of as communities.”
National Union MK Uri Ariel told
that the report “only brings some justice” to those who were relocated
“What have we gained from the disengagement?” he asked.
look at what’s going on in Gaza and in the world, we see that it was
Ariel said he believed that following the report’s
the public would demand that the government act right away to remedy the
problems suffered by the evacuees.
“We need this for the sake of
State of Israel and its citizens,” he declared.Tovah Lazaroff
contributed to this report.