Gush Katif evacuees living in the cara-villa site in Nitzan announced on Wednesday that they will renew their struggle after a period of relative calm. Renewing the fight is necessary, they said, given the bureaucratic foot-dragging over the permanent homes they had been promised. Yossi Noiman, a former resident of Neve Dekalim who represents the 400 families evacuated from the community, told Ynet that the families want to establish a new permanent community together. Noiman says that the families had planned to use the promised government benefits to build their community, but the prices and
bureaucracy have made it impossible.
"We were assured that here in Nitzan we would be able to build our home, that no evacuee would be uncared for," he said, "but the reality is that it's been one year and four months since the evacuation and we still haven't moved forward. For the evacuated families it's like living in a 'Theatre of the Absurd'. There's no stability in life – financial, educational or emotional."
The evacuees claim that the Disengagement Authority promised families that the state would subtract the cost of their chosen lot from the sum total of their awarded compensation. The evacuees also found a solution for the 150 families which would not be able to build a home with the compensation sum, deciding to split the property into smaller, and therefore cheaper, plots. The new plots would now cost USD 35,000 instead of USD 50,000. The plan would also allow young couples to join the new community, diversifying the age groups and ensuring a continuous future.
Cara-villa site in Nitzan. Families want to establish community (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Best Laid Plans
But you know what they say about the best laid plans. In recent weeks the evacuees learned that all the available plots, regardless of size, will cost USD 50,000. Such a reality would render the dream of rehabilitating the community in Nitzan virtually impossible. Evacuees also fail to understand the logic of the price tag, which does not differentiate between large plots and smaller ones.
And on top of this curious decision, the vast majority (70 percent) of the community's residents remain unemployed and the compensation money is beginning to run out.
The Disengagement Authority addressed the evacuees claims: "We are required to maneuver between the demands of the evacuees, the communities absorbing them, the evacuation-compensation bill and the position taken by planning organizations. Despite this complexity plots have already been signed over in some of the permanent communities, infrastructure has been laid down and construction has commenced. In some of the communities we're in the final stages of signing agreements and completing the infrastructure."
"Regarding Nitzan, there will be a plot-lottery in December. This is an agreement signed between the state and the evacuees in July 2005. It was posted on the internet and (the information) was available to everyone. According to the agreement the evacuees can receive property in the Nitzan project in exchange for a monetary payment that would not be less than the compensation awarded for the property they once owned."