Katif Communities Update

Dugit's families are scattered to the winds, Katif and Kfar Darom have been thrown into uncertainty yet again, and some Atzmona families have begun new lives - in the far-away Halutzah Sands.

Contact Editor
Hillel Fendel, | updated: 12:51

Dugit, of northern Gaza, is not only physically destroyed, but has also ceased to exist as a community as well. The 15 or so families are scattered in rented apartments throughout the country - in Ashkelon, Sderot, Bustan HaGalil and elsewhere.

Former resident Nir Damari told B'Sheva a month ago that at the beginning of 2005, he turned to the Disengagement Authority, headed by Yonatan Bassi: "Bassi said to me, 'Give me ten options that could be appropriate for your community.' What, do I work for him? I have to go find options? But still, I did it and went and found ten options, and presented them to him. He told me that not one of them was appropriate..."

In the end, no solution was implemented, and each resident is now on his own. This flew against expert psychologists' recommendations, according to which the residents would fare much better together than apart.

The residents of Kfar Darom faced yet another setback today. They had planned on moving into a large apartment building in Ashkelon, but the deal was abruptly called off today by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. The families were to move into a 19-story building for two years, until their permanent community, together with families from Atzmona and Katif, is ready. Mazuz called off the government's purchase of the building, saying it would cost too much. The government was to purchase the building for $8.5 million, and sell it back to the builder for $5.5 million three years later.

Though the people of Kfar Darom have been thrown into uncertainty once again, they remain unfazed. "It wasn't a perfect solution in any event," one resident said. "None of us were excited about moving into an urban high-rise. But it was to be a temporary solution, in which we were to have our schools and yeshiva, and it was a place where we could be involved in national life." The residents, currently housed in a very temporary fashion in the Paradise Hotel in Be'er Sheva, will convene once again and decide their next steps.

The expelled families of Moshav Katif also continue to be kept in a state of uncertainty. They were informed a week ago that their planned move to Eibim in the Negev was suddenly canceled. The 65 families are currently located in the Kfar Pines Ulpanah Girls High School near Hadera, where the senior year students are sleeping in tents to make room for the homeless families. Resident Ezra Haidu said that a ministerial committee is supposed to decide their future in the coming days.

Some 15-20 families from Atzmona have moved to their temporary quarters in Yated, in the Halutza Sands. This area is considered one of the more out-of-the-way locations in Israel, due south of the Gaza Strip and close to the Sinai Desert border with Israel. In the coming two years, they plan to form a new farming community even further south. At least one pioneer, however, will continue to work in the Katif-Atzmona dairy farm. Its temporary location is in Be'er Toviah, a 90-minute drive from Yated. He was expelled from Atzmonah in the Sinai in 1982, and was again expelled last month - this time with his wife and nine children.