Gaza evacuee families living at the Regency Hotel in Jerusalem reached a temporary agreement with the hotel management Thursday and will remain at the hotel until October 31. The families, however, say that they have no intention to leave on that date, and plan to spend the time until then protesting the move.
"We are looking at this as five more days to protest and work towards a way of staying here," said Rabbi Yosef Rimon, a spokesman for the families evacuated from Gush Katif. "We are going to meet with the government and try to exert political pressure."
Rimon said that the families were appalled at the way in which they were treated by the hotel. Notices were placed on all the doors, they say, frightening their children who have barely recovered from their experiences during disengagement.
"The children here are still having nightmares, are still wetting the bed over the trauma of the disengagement," said Rimon. "How can you subject them to another trauma? They are terrified."
In the hotel lobby, a makeshift kindergarten has been created for the younger children, while their older siblings attend classes nearby. The families have formed a provisional community, they say, until they are ready to move into their permanent homes.
"We are still insistent on not leaving," said Rimon. "We are going to spend the next days finding a way to stay here."
On Wednesday, The Jerusalem Post reported that the hotel was demanding that the families leave immediately. Officials from the Disengagement Authority (Sela) said they would continue working with the evacuees to find a solution. In the next week, Sela is expected to ask the government for more money to temporarily house families evacuated during disengagement.