Gov't won't supply alternatives for Karmiya evacuees

The state has reiterated its position to the High Court of Justice that it will not find alternative housing for families evacuated from Gaza Strip settlements to Kibbutz Karmiya even though four members of one family were injured in a Kassam rocket attack. About 50 families, most of them former residents of the northern Gaza Strip settlements, moved to Karmiya after the disengagement. On February 4, a Kassam rocket struck the neighborhood, seriously wounding a seven-year-old boy and lightly wounding his parents and a relative. After the incident, the families moved out of their homes and found shelter with relatives or friends in other parts of the country. On February 20, 21 families petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that the state immediately find alternative housing in hotels or vacation resorts to tide them over until it can provide them with longer term temporary housing. In response to a show-cause order issued by the High Court on March 1, the state declared this week that it had scattered 10 safety rooms, which are not connected to the mobile homes, in the neighborhood of the former settlers. These safety rooms were as effective as safety rooms connected to the mobile homes and put the former settlers on a par with the inhabitants of the kibbutz itself, the state argued. The kibbutz members have a number of bomb shelters in the vicinity of the houses in accordance with the demands of the 1951 Civil Defense Law. The state added that Kibbutz Karmiya was not classified among the highest risk communities in the Gaza "envelope." Nevertheless, along with all the other communities in their category, the government reinforced kindergartens and day cr ches, and provided additional protection for schools in Karmiya. It also pointed out that according to the Evacuation-Compensation Law, the state was not obliged to provide temporary or permanent housing for the evacuees. The law provides them with a grant covering rental expenses for the first period after the evacuation and compensation on their old homes for the purchase of new ones. The law did not oblige the state to provide the actual housing for the evacuees. Attorney Eliav Mantel, who represents the petitioners, charged that "the state is doing nothing to find a proper solution for the residents of Karmiya who were evacuated from their homes [in the Gaza Strip.]" According to Nachi Eyal, director-general of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, "Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, who pressed the state to help the residents and even issued a show-cause order but the state continues to maltreat the families who were expelled from their homes, continues to make the same arguments to buy time. So far, it has succeeded."