Part II: The Pre-Meditated Abuse of the Disengagement Expellees
Human rights week in Israel heralds the publication of a plethora of reports by groups funded by the European Union and the New Israel Fund, on the alleged mistreatment of Israel’s Arab citizens. In response, the Yesha Human Rights Organization has decided to publish its own report on the status of human rights among the Jews of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Yesha Human Rights Organization Chairperson Orit Strook prefaces the report, writing that the public residing in Yesha (the Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza) has “suffered public and blatant trampling of its basic rights, but has received almost no defense from the human rights organizations.”
Strook explains why the Yesha Human Rights Organization was founded: “Over the years, it became clear that there was a need for a human rights organization ‘of our own,’ which would relate to the Yesha settlers as human beings possessing rights, and not as second, third or fourth class citizens. The Yesha Human Rights Organization tries to provide for the various needs resulting from the trampling of the rights of these residents by government authorities.”
The report deals with eight areas of particularly blatant discrimination: “To our great sorrow, in each of these areas, residents of Yesha did not receive any support from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which often took a stance negating the residents’ most basic rights. We are prepared to provide individuals and lawyers involved in each one of these realms with evidence which further illustrates the phenomenon.”
The sections of the report will be reprinted by Arutz-7 over the coming days (Click here for part one):
The matter of the failed treatment of the expellees has already been reported by the Israeli media outlets, in dozens of Knesset hearings and in the State Comptroller’s report. However, it must be mentioned that the shocking data was known in advance. Government ministers, members of the Disengagement Authority, MKs, the State Comptroller – all of them knew that there had not been proper preparations for absorbing the expellees. All of them exposed the failures even before the implementation of the Disengagement, and nevertheless refused to agree to even delay its implementation in order to enable more feasible conditions for those being evicted.
On July 25, 2005, a meeting took place in the Knesset, a joint meeting of the Knesset Law Committee and the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee under the heading “Government Preparedness for the Implementation of the Disengagement.” None of the concerns raised by settlement representatives were investigated with any depth. The MKs sufficed with baseless answers supplied by government functionaries and did not examine the veracity of the claims that were presented (facts and figures later shown to be baseless).
Two weeks later, on August 10, 2005, the State Control Committee held a meeting, attended by the State Comptroller, under the banner, “Request For the Evaluation and Opinion of the State Comptroller on the Matter of Government Preparedness for the Disengagement.” In the summation of the meeting, MK Meli Polischok-Bloch, then chair of the committee, said: “There is no doubt that the procedures being implemented are improper, to say the least… Mr. Comptroller, you have heard the matter… I think that it is impossible to put you [the Gush Katif residents present at the meeting –ed.] on buses and say ‘let the world be destroyed.’ I agree that you must be given more time…”
A representative of the Yesha Human Rights Organization appealed to the Chairman and Comptroller to “…present an opinion that will allow us some more time, two more months, in order to work with all our energy to rectify the mistakes…so that there will at least be some minimal solution for each family. What is this rush?”, yet everything was left up in the air. The Disengagement was not postponed, despite all the failures that were exposed.
Until today – more than two years after the expulsion – the Gush Katif and northern Samaria expellees still suffer abandonment and neglect at the hands of government agencies which are supposed to be providing them with permanent housing; helping them find employment and sustenance; making sure they are paid reparations and solving educational, emotional and health problems resulting from the expulsion.