Daily Israel Report

Gush Katif Refugees 'Roofless' Again After Major Storm

Gush Katif expulsion victims contended with a storm that pummeled their temporary homes - six years after they were expelled.
By David Lev
First Publish: 11/21/2011, 2:42 PM

caravilla damage
caravilla damage
Cheli Aboutbul

The wet and wild weather in Israel over the past week brought “rains of blessing” to most parts of the country. But the rains were somewhat less than blessed for residents of the Nitzan “caravilla” village – where families who were thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif by the Israeli government in 2005 are still living, six years later.

According to building experts, the shoddily-built temporary housing, akin to a poorly built mobile home, has a life span of about two years – meaning that the residents of the site, who have still not been given homes to replace the ones they were expelled from as a result of the disengagement, are vulnerable to all manner of bad weather, like the storms that hit Israel over the weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, a major squall hit the area of Nitzan near Ashkelon, where the caravilla village is located, blowing the roofs off more than a dozen homes, and sending almost anything that wasn't nailed down (and even some things that were) flying dangerously through the air. Several electrical poles fell, and there was major damage to the roads in the village as well.

Yair Farjun, head of the Ashkelon Shore Regional Council, visited the site and conferred with representatives of the Amigur organization, which is responsible for the structures. “This is yet more evidence of the temporary nature of these homes. The government must provide these people with a solution to their housing needs, as dictated by the recent government inquiry panel that showed that the government had failed in its obligations to the Gush Katif evictees,” Farjun said.

One resident of the site told Arutz Sheva that two electrical poles near her home had toppled, and that numerous cars were damaged because of trees and branches that had fallen. In addition, she said, a number of the caravillas were badly flooded, and that residents were in great fear of future storms – which are quite likely to strike over the course of the winter, as it is still only November.

“The government doesn't care about us,” the resident said. “Once again we are beaten down, and there is no one to help us. They threw us out of our homes into the street. They should be ashamed of themselves,” she added.