Eight years after they were evicted from their homes in Gush Katif in Gaza, some 500 of the Jewish families who were victims of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's 2005 disengagement plan are to receive increased compensation over the loss of their homes. The state has been ordered by the High Court to award the victims additional compensation, which amounts to tens of thousands of shekels for each family.
The NIS 30,000-90,000 that each family will receive comes as the result of a deal reluctantly offered by the state, which argued for years against increasing the payouts. Former Gush Katif residents have long argued that the state seriously undervalued their homes, with insurance adjusters demanding that they sign documents that they agreed to the lowball values they determined the homes were worth if they wanted any compensation at all.
Some former residents accused the state of colluding with the adjusters to deliberately understate their homes' values. While that wasn't proven, the Court did say that the state was negligent when it accepted the lowball values without entertaining appeals from residents. The state has been ordered to pay the difference in what the actual values of the homes were worth when the state seized them.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who is also in charge of Tnufa, the state agency that provides housing and job assistance for Gush Katif evictees, called the Court decision “an important victory. We have succeeded in correcting yet another injustice. This decision will enable many families to finish the construction of their new homes in a much shorter time than would have been possible,” he said.