Only 8% of evacuees building new homes

PMO: Out of 24 new communal sites where ex-Gaza residents will live, work is ongoing at only seven.

evacuees in hotel 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy [file])
evacuees in hotel 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy [file])
Close to three years since disengagement from the Gaza Strip, only 7 percent to 8% of the evacuees have begun building permanent homes, according to statistics released by the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday. Out of 24 new communal sites where the ex-Gaza residents will live, work is ongoing at only seven, PMO director-general Ra'anan Dinur said. Still, Dinur said the tide had turned for the process. He estimated that within two years there would be no need for the Sela Disengagement Authority, which was created in 2004 to help resettle the 8,500 evacuees from Gaza and four northern Samaria communities. When the resettlement process is completed, the government will have spent some NIS 10 billion, including money spent by the IDF during disengagement, funds for infrastructure for the new communities and compensation for personal, business and agricultural losses, Dinur said. Out of that, he said, about NIS 1.7b. has been paid for personal losses, including homes; so far, some NIS 8b. has been spent. According to numbers presented by Dinur and Disengagement Authority head Tzvia Shimon, 1,941 families asked for full compensation, but only 1,359 were eligible. Out of those, 226 families opted to take the money and resettle independently, while the remaining 1,133 have waited to build in new communities with their formers neighbors in a way that mostly replicates their life before disengagement. Dinur said he was pleased that a solution had been found, or was near at hand, for 72% of the 1,133 families, even though only 586 families can actually start building their homes now, and 180 in a few months. The remaining 367 families opted for projects that had not yet been fully authorized, he said. Once building lots are assigned, families are expected to finish the process within a year-and-a-half and then to vacate the modular homes the government provided for them, Dinur said. Looking back over the past four years of the Disengagement Authority's operation, he acknowledged that "we made mistakes. If you ask if today we would have done it better, yes we would have." Dinur said he was proud that the authority was now doing its best to provide the evacuees with solutions they wanted. Evacuees, however, were less optimistic. Evacuees intend to hand out a survey conducted by Magar Mochot on Wednesday at a meeting of the Knesset lobby that works on their behalf; it reports that 70% of them are in worse financial state then they were five years ago. According to the report, 55% have been treated for psychological problems, 29% say their family relations are worse and 45% are pessimistic about their future.