Landau: Likud to Debate Plight of Gush Katif Evictees

“No democratic country should ever abandon its citizens like this,” stated MK Dr. Uzi Landau on Wednesday after viewing the conditions of Jews expelled from Gush Katif and northern Samaria.

Naomi Grossman, | updated: 10:07

Landau, who is running for the leadership of the Likud party, has called for the Likud Party to debate the issue in two weeks’ time at the opening of the Knesset’s winter session.

Click here to listen to an interview with Landau on IsraelNationalRadio's Eli Stutz and Yishai Fleisher Show, Thursday.

Two months after the expulsion, the former residents of Elei Sinai still have not found a communal housing solution for their community. At the moment, they are living in a tent camp at the Yad Mordechai junction, and Wednesday’s heavy rain caught them totally unprepared.

Sarita Maoz, spokesperson for the homeless evictees, told Israeli government radio that the community wrote Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to request an urgent meeting eight days before the rain began. Currently, the housing situation is being handled by “clerks,” according to Maoz. Since no forward progress is being made on a more permanent housing solution, Maoz believes Sharon must become personally involved. “Until now, we have not received any reply,” stated Maoz.

Meanwhile, expellees from the communities of Bedollach, Morag and Kfar Yam, who had been living at the Shirat Hayam Hotel in Ashkelon, were evicted from the hotel the day before the festival of Sukkot. Since then, they have been living in makeshift accommodations and are receiving meals from the soup kitchens in Sderot.

The Disengagement Authority asserts that the evictees have refused all suggested solutions, making negotiations impossible.

Landau stated that it is important to note that the evictees who were thrown out of the hotel in Ashkelon are from Morag and Bedollach. Residents from those communities had signed agreements with the authority to move to caravillas and had even been prepared to leave their homes before the disengagement.

Rather than preparing caravillas for community members in advance of the August 19th expulsion, the Disengagement Authority “sent them to a hotel in the Dead Sea area and the Shirat Hayam Hotel in Ashkelon, which didn’t solve any of their problems,” said Landau. “They even threw some of them into a hotel in Tiberias for a few days.”

Landau added that he personally visited the Shirat Hayam Hotel two weeks ago. “There was a social welfare officer there, working for the Disengagement Authority, who couldn’t supply any answers. You could see that if she had wanted to reply, she would have given a searing condemnation of the authority. But she obviously couldn’t do that, being a member of the authority herself.”

Apart from the camp at Yad Mordechai, Landau toured the evictee community of Nitzan and the “city of faith” adjacent to Netivot. During the tour Landau, called for an appropriate solution for the housing plight of the evictees from Gush Katif and northern Samaria, as well as an urgent party debate on the issue in time for the opening of the Knesset winter session.

Landau believes this is not a political problem but rather a social one. “There was a disengagement, and there are now ten thousand people here who need to be taken care of.” He added that it was time to demand a more humane response from the Prime Minister’s Office, and that he hoped the issue would also stir the members of the Knesset and the general public. “Let’s put the politics to one side and just help the evictees,” Landau stated.

Thursday, Landau spoke at the dedication ceremony of a new computer science center at the Jean Gluck Girls High School in Beit El. The computer center was dedicated in the memory of the late Rabbi Morris Friedman.

In his speech Landau stated, "Since the twelve years of Oslo, we have been on a slippery slope. Israel has made concessions in the Oslo, Hebron, and Wye Plantation agreements, and now the Road Map. Concessions have been the main answer to the pressures against us. It is a sign of fatigued weakness in our leadership, as well as among the citizens of the State of Israel.

"But there are others. There is a tremendous revival of Judaism. Just go to Judea and Samaria and see the people with their refined character traits and the way they honor their parents. They come from Israel, the former Soviet Union, America and Ethiopia. They are a different type of breed. Despite the disengagement, the people here continue to build. The population of Judea and Samaria is higher now than last year."