The Cabinet heard Sunday morning about the ongoing efforts to rehouse and rehabilitate the roughly 9,000 Israelis expelled from Gaza and northern Samaria (Shomron) under the 2005 Disengagement plan.
This month, nearly eight years after the Disengagement, the government will close the Tenufa administration, which was tasked with helping those expelled under the plan to restart their lives.
Tenufa head Rabbi Dr. Ofir Cohen revealed that the Disengagement has cost Israel a total of 9,482,184,000 shekels.
Eighty-eight percent of the 1,404 families uprooted as part of the plan are now living in new homes of their own, or are in the process of building a permanent home, he reported.
“With the closure of the administration, I took care that the care for the families, their absorption in their new communities, the physical and social building of the communities, will continue for the next three years,” he told the cabinet.
Once the Tenufa Administration shuts down, care for expellees who still need assistance will become the job of the Housing Ministry and of the local councils in charge of the areas in which they reside.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said he is prepared for the new responsibilities.
“After years in which the State of Israel did not manage to keep its promise of ‘a solution for every settler,’ the time has come to put an end to this ongoing wrong toward the expellees,” he declared.
“As someone who has closely followed the expellees, I accept the mission of finding a solution for everyone with a feeling of great responsibility,” he said. His goal, he added, “is to ensure that everyone can finally enter their new home.”
In addition to the expense of rehousing thousands of people, Israel has also continued supplying Gaza with water and electricity despite withdrawing fully from the area years earlier. Gaza leaders continue to blame Israel for suffering in the region, claiming that an Israeli "blockade" has stifled the local economy.
Some Israeli activist groups have called to "fix" the Disengagement by returning to the communities Israel abandoned.