IDF refused to approve evacuee housing

Contractors built homes without security rooms in violation of statute.

kassam damage 298 (photo credit: AP)
kassam damage 298
(photo credit: AP)
Contractors and government ministries which built temporary homes for Gaza Strip evacuees without security rooms broke the law, a high-ranking IDF officer and member of the General Staff said Sunday in response to public criticism that the IDF Home Front Command failed to reinforce homes in Gaza-belt communities. On Friday, a seven-month-old baby was seriously wounded after a Kassam rocket struck his family's caravilla temporary home in the southern kibbutz of Karmiya.
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"Anyone who built the caravillas without security rooms did so against the law," the senior officer said. The Home Front Command, which needs to give its approval to the building plans, was asked by government officials and contractors to approve the temporary homes without the security rooms, but refused to. "We were asked, and told them that they did not have the Home Front Command's approval," he said. The Defense Ministry, which was responsible for the construction of the Nitzan caravilla community for Gaza evacuees, rejected the senior officer's accusations. "We were never told by the Home Front Command to build the security homes in Nitzan," one official said. "Had they told us to build the shelters, we would have." But the officer said it wasn't the Home Front Command's responsibility to order the contractors to build security rooms. "The law passed in 1992 requires every home that is built to construct a shelter," he said. "It is not the responsibility of the Home Front Command to enforce the law, others are responsible for that." Israel, the officer added, was unable to provide its citizens with total protection from direct Kassam hits, even after communities surrounding Gaza were reinforced. "No security room or shelter in Israel can withstand a direct rocket hit," he said, adding that the NIS 210 million allocated to reinforce the Gaza-belt communities was not only insufficient but was also distributed in small payments that did not enable the army to make real headway. Israel's real problem, the officer said, was how it would provide security for additional cities expected to come under the Kassam threat after the Palestinians develop a longer-range rocket. Reinforcement work was being done around the clock, the officer said. NIS 30 million recently transferred to the Home Front Command would be invested in reinforcing roofs of kindergartens and schools within 7 km of Gaza, he said, adding that of the 250 security rooms removed from Gush Katif settlements 141 have already been installed. The remaining rooms, the officer said, were currently packed in an empty lot at Kibbutz Netiv Ha'asara awaiting renovations.