Families: New Katif Deal Lacking

Final agreements have been drawn up to resolve many of the problems that have plagued former Gush Katif families, but their ordeal isn't over.

David Lev , | updated: 8:20 AM

Israel News Photo: Archive

Representatives of families thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif said that while they appreciated that progress had been made in dealing with the problems caused by the Disengagement, "we're only halfway to the resolution of our problems. Our problems are a long way from being solved."

The representatives, members of the Gush Katif Residents' Committee, were reacting to a weekend announcement by the Prime Minister's office that final agreements have been drawn up to resolve many of the ongoing problems that have plagued former Gush Katif families since the their expulsion from their homes. Among the areas covered by the agreements are a deal to push forward construction of permanent homes for members of the communities who were expelled from their homes in Gush Katif, as well as an agreement on compensating business owners who lost their livelihoods after the expulsion.

The agreements on housing were developed with four of the remaining communities that have not had a permanent housing solution since the expulsion. Former residents of the four communities agreed on a location for their new homes, while two other agreements await approval of members of those communities. Additional low-interest loans of NIS 250,000 will be available to those building their homes, and families who are unable to afford to build a new home will have the option of moving their "caravilla" temporary homes to the lots they will be given in t
In a statement, the Gush Katif Residents' Committee said that despite the agreements, there were still three major areas that need to be resolved.
heir community's new location.

Compensation for businesses
Since the expulsion, members of all the communities covered by the deal have been living in temporary housing. The agreements were developed between the residents and the governmental Tnufa Authority which was created in order to deal with the expulsion victims, and have been forwarded to the government committee investigating the treatment of former Gush Katif residents.

A separate agreement covers compensation for business owners. Under the deal, business owners will received increased assistance in order to rebuild their businesses. Business owners who are unable to develop their operations to earn sufficient income will be able to receive additional monthly compensation until retirement age.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the "my government has set helping our brothers removed from their homes in Gush Katif as a national and moral mission of the first degree. I congratulate all those involved on the progress made on these agreements. I instructed all relevant parties, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Tnufa Authority, and the Finance Ministry, to continue to resolve all the problems of former Gush Katif residents."

In a statement, the Gush Katif Residents' Committee said that despite the agreements, there were still three major areas that need to be resolved; "helping farmers from Gush Katif who have been unable to return to their professions, aiding former residents whose economic situation does not allow them to build a new home, and the removal of bureaucratic roadblocks to the construction of new towns."

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said on Saturday night that "four and a half years after the Disengagement, there is still no final date for most of the families to enter their new homes, there is no solution at all for over 100 families who wish to remain together with their communities, and over 70 percent of farmers have not returned to the fields. The Prime Minister sees a quarter of the cup as full, but we see how the suffering of the families is continuing. The time has come for action," he said.