Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with heads of Gaza region authorities
Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with heads of Gaza region authoritiesGPO

A senior official in the Finance Ministry has stated that residents of towns near northern Gaza must prepare to return to their houses in the near future, according to the orders of the IDF.

According to Israel Hayom, the statement was made after a War Cabinet meeting with the heads of local authorities from southern Israel last week, in which the representatives of the residents opposed returning to their towns as long as there had not been a complete end to the rocket fire towards southern Israel.

According to the official, the security services have said there is already no reason civilians should not return to the towns near northern Gaza.

The official revealed that the homefront command has requested 670M shekels to reinforce the security measures around towns in the Gaza region, “But if residents do not return and the preparations continue until July, as the defense minister said to you, there is no point in funding additional security measures. There is only so much money.”

He agreed that there was still a danger of rocket fire and mortar launches, but claimed that there was a similar danger throughout Israel. “Just last week, they fired at Netivot and Yavne, which were not evacuated. At any moment, they could also fire at Tel Aviv.”

The official also stated that reparations to residents of the south cost one billion shekels for every day. “The reason for evacuating residents of the south at the beginning of the war was not rocket fire, but rather fear of terrorist invasion, due to the Hamas attack in the first days of the war. This fear has been removed. The problem of rockets and mortars is significantly smaller than what it was at the beginning of the more, due to the extensive operations by the IDF. The professional opinion of the army is that in these conditions, citizens can return to their houses, and even legally speaking, it will soon be impossible to further justify paying reparations to evacuees from these regions.”

The government had announced earlier in the war that residents of the Gaza region would be eligible for reparations for their evacuation until the end of February, with the education system in the region to resume activities as of March.

The official criticized the Prime Minister and Defense Minister for their willingness to push this time off until the summer. “The costs to the economy are enormous. If we continue to pay reparations to places where there is no security justification for doing so, both northern Israel and other places will want to join in. There will be no end to the matter. There has been a government decision and it must be upheld.”