Half of former Gazans living in Nitzan under welfare care

Ashkelon welfare council head: Sela withholding funds, treatment from evacuees until they agree to move.

evacuees in hotel 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy [file])
evacuees in hotel 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy [file])
Half the families living in the temporary neighborhood of Nitzan near Ashkelon who were evacuated from the Gaza Strip four years ago are clients of the welfare authorities in the Ashkelon Beach Regional Council, Maozia Segal, head of the council's welfare department, told the state commission of inquiry probing the process of their resettlement on Monday. According to the figures Segal presented to the State Commission of Inquiry into the Handling by the Authorized Authorities of the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, about 500 families live in Nitzan. Of these 250 are in the care of welfare authorities, 89 families have two unemployed parents, and 100 children have been diagnosed as suffering from learning problems caused by trauma. Segal added that only about 80 of the families living in Nitzan today were under welfare care when they lived in the Gaza Strip. He estimated that more than 100 children were suffering from learning disabilities, but that other parents refused to have their children tested because of the shame involved. The authorities must prepare the families before they move to their permanent homes, he warned. Otherwise, their problems will only become more severe. Segal also accused the Sela Administration for Assistance to Settlers from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria of withholding funds and treatment from the evacuees until they formally agreed to move into their permanent homes. "It is wrong to threaten that if they don't sign the contract for their permanent housing, they will not receive funding for living elsewhere," Segal said. "They call the settlers parasites and accuse them of having bought cars with the [compensation] money, without checking the reasons for this conduct. "The state gave them money, but did not teach them how to keep it or find out whether it was compensation for the trauma they experienced." On Wednesday, Ra'anan Dinur, former prime minister Ehud Olmert's close aide and the director-general of his office, will testify before the commission.