Yonatan Bassi, head of the Disengagement Authority, is set to retire his post within one month and be replaced by Tzvia Shimon, who currently serves as deputy director-general at the prime Minister's officer, PM Ehud Olmert announced Wednesday.
"Despite the fact we stood at the most difficult friction point with the settlers, I salute their nobleness," Bassi said. "I'm proud for
having been given the opportunity to stand at this historic junction at a time Israel made one of its most difficult decisions of the last generation," he added.
"I do not regret having fulfilled this role, although I did not ask for it. A man like myself would not turn his back and run when the prime minister approaches him with such a request – I didn't feel I have the moral right to refuse such a request. Although it wasn't easy, I report to duty when being summoned."
Referring to the deep crisis the evacuees have been undergoing since the pullout, Bassi said: "the State of Israel owes the evacuees almost anything. I think that they are the victims of a government decision, which, while it was taken democratically, still hurt them badly. I laud them."
When asked what his plans were, now that he was retiring from the position, Bassi said he intends to get as much rest as possible. "Anything I do afterwards will seem like resting in comparison to what I have experienced in this role. Although I feel a certain sense of responsibility for not staying two more years, until the building of the permanent residences is completed, since now all the houses are under construction, it seems like a good time to pass on the task."
"I think that Tzvia is a deserving, talented and accomplished woman, and I am certain she will succeed in completing what we have started," he concluded.