'Plight of Gaza evacuees is forgotten'

Exclusive: David Hatuel, who lost wife and four daughters, gives first-ever media interview.

david hatuel 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
david hatuel 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A man who lost his wife and four daughters in a Gaza terrorist attack four years ago believes the government and the public have all but forgotten the plight of the Gaza evacuees, many of whom are still living in temporary homes across the South. "People are very disappointed that they are not able to move on with their lives, that [the evacuees from Gaza] has disappeared from the daily agenda," said David Hatuel, who this week gave The Jerusalem Post his first media interview since the attack. "The government was supposed to have found a solution for us, but what solution have they come up with?" said Hatuel, who is now president of the terrorism victims support organization One Family Fund and has resettled on Moshav Amatzia near Beit Guvrin in the Lachish region. On Wednesday, the Knesset approved an additional NIS 1.5 billion for the settlers evacuated from Gush Katif and the northern Gaza Strip in 2005; however, hundreds of the families still live in temporary housing known as caravillas. "We are still waiting for official government permission to start building permanent structures," Hatuel said. "Most of the families are living in these crowded caravillas... but at least we all got to stay together." Hatuel's pregnant wife, Tali, and daughters, Hila, 10, Hadar, eight, Roni, six, and Meirav, two - were shot at point-blank range by terrorists on the Kissufim road near Gush Katif on May 2, 2004. The Popular Resistance Committees and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the killings. His new community of some 60 families, originally from Moshav Katif, has been instrumental in helping him get over the tragedy and move on with his life, the 38-year-old said. "I don't know if I would have succeeded in rebuilding my life if it had not been for my community," said Hatuel, who remarried in 2005 and has a daughter named Tehiya (meaning "new life"). "If I had lived in an apartment building in Tel Aviv, I don't think that would have helped me enough to pull myself back together." Immediately following disengagement from Gaza, the families of Moshav Katif were moved to Kfar Pines and then to hotel resorts in Ashkelon, until being permanently relocated to Moshav Amatzia. Hatuel said that leaving the home where he had lived with his family was extremely difficult. "It was full of memories and I thought: Not only did I lose my family here, now I am losing my home," an emotional Hatuel said. "On the other hand, however, I told myself that it was only bricks and nothing more." The full interview with Hatuel will appear in Tuesday's Post.