Gush Katif evictees, 2010
Gush Katif evictees, 2010Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israelis expelled from Gush Katif in 2005, who remain in the Nitzan caravan city, are now being charged rent. The new charge comes two years after the government sold the final expellees plots of land to build permanent housing.

A letter informing families of the decision stated, “The state of Israel allowed eligible evicted families to live temporarily in temporary housing sites. A government decision determined that this period of residency without pay would continue for 18 months after the time at which you received your plot of land.”

Families living in Nitzan expressed anger at the decision. “Shame on you for your inaction,” residents wrote in a letter quoted by Haaretz. “Shame on you… What will you take our money for, and why?”

The letter was addressed to the Tenufa Administration, which is tasked with the families’ resettlement.

High unemployment has forced many families to spend what compensation money they received after the expulsion on day-to-day living expenses. Two-thirds of the families have yet to move to permanent homes.

The secretary of the Nisanit community in Nitzan, Aviel Eliaz, told Haaretz, “Instead of moving the evicted closer to permanent homes, this is taking them further from moving to their new homes. There are families here that cannot afford to build permanent homes, and again, the state is targeting the weak. The strong residents, who have money, have no problem building.”

Tenufa Administration officials have argued that families that cannot afford to build houses have been offered several options to help them, including 250,000 shekel government loans, and a program in which the Nitzan site caravans are moved to the permanent communities and converted to homes. “The Tenufa Administration has tried over and over to avoid taking this step,” argued Tenufa head Rabbi Ofir Cohen. “But now there is no choice.”

Cohen told Haaretz that the administration “will continue to assist each family.”