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      'Next Generation' of Gush Katif Expellees Seeks Compensation

      Hundreds of young men and women who are now 18 years old are ineligible for certain categories of compensation under existing legislation.
      By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
      First Publish: 3/20/2007, 11:08 PM

      The Knesset subcommittee for issues related to former residents of Gush Katif, uprooted from the Gaza Strip in 2005 by the Sharon administration, held a special session on Tuesday to discuss the situation facing what is being termed the "next generation." The "next generation" refers to between 500 and 700 young men and women who are now 18
      Laws related to the victims of Disengagement were not passed with a view to the future.
      years old and ineligible for certain categories of compensation under existing legislation, because they were uprooted from their homes along with their families and were not independent at the time.

      Representatives of the "next generation" prepared documentation showing the serious difficulties they face and which the legislators did not take into consideration when passing the Disengagement Compensation Law. Among the issues the young men and women are now facing without assistance are housing and employment. For example, the law does not allow them to build their homes near their families in their new locations around the country.

      One spokesman for the group, Yonatan, told the Knesset Members, "The existing law ignores us. As it is, the situation is very difficult, as our parents are in a financial crisis as a result of the expulsion. We want to have the ability to buy a housing unit in another community if we are not to be allowed to live in our original communities. To my sorrow, we are not eligible to receive $30,000 for settling the Negev or the Galilee."

      The "next generation" representatives also presented the problem of those young couples who got married after the specified evacuation deadline, and thus were not recognized as couples for the purpose of the Compensation Law's provisions regarding housing and employment. In addition, the young men and women requested that the Knesset subcommittee allow them special student grants to enable them to attend institutes of higher education.

      MK Limor Livnat (Likud) said during the meeting that the Disengagement Authority, which was assigned to assist and compensate the evictees, "is making a joke of them." She called on the Authority "to treat their claims seriously."  Likud MK Reuven Rivlin said that the proof of residence in Gush Katif demanded of the expellees is unreasonable. According to the Disengagement Authority criteria, Rivlin said, "I also couldn't prove I am a Jerusalemite."


      "I turn to the Prime Minister before the Passover holiday so that this exodus will not last 40 years...." -- MK Amira Dotan
      The Disengagement Authority representative present at the session acknowledged that the laws relating to the victims of Disengagement were not passed with a view to the "next generation." Rather, the law relates to those who were homeowners in Gush Katif and northern Samaria only up until the last date of legal residence in those areas.

      The subcommittee chairperson, MK Amira Dotan (Kadima), said, "I turn to the Prime Minister before the Passover holiday so that this exodus will not last 40 years, like the historical exodus from Egypt. I believe that the problem has ceased to be that of the Disengagement Authority alone; rather, it now has come to rest at the door of the Prime Minister and his office director."

      "In order to get this wagon out of the mud," Dotan said, "we must submit a bill to amend the Disengagement Compensation Law. The problems are no longer those of the evictees alone, but they have become a socioeconomic problem for the State of Israel. There is a limit to our patience in finding a solution for the evictees - I am shamed into silence before these uprooted people."