If Israel decides to leave the settlers' homes intact following pullout, we welcome the idea, Palestinian Minister for Civil Affairs Mohammed Dahlan said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Ynet.
"If Israel wants to destroy them (the homes), then it must clear away the sand from the homes once they have been destroyed and not forget to take out the garbage when it leaves," he said.
Dahlan, who is responsible for disengagement preparations for the Palestinian Authority said Israel is a hinder to the success of the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank pullout planned for summer.
He said that should Israel decide not to alter its policies regarding border crossings, is unable to ensure the opening of an airport in Gaza and a safe crossing between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the disengagement process would fail.
What will happen to the homes in Gaza should Israel decide to leave them intact?
We have appointed special teams to assess future Palestinian residential arrangements in a bid to determine what is most suited for our needs. In principle, the given situation in Gaza is that 1.35 million people live in a restricted area, which is expected to become more crowded in the near future.
We are waiting for the teams' opinion, as well as Israel's decision regarding the status of the homes.
In Israel, defense officials have talked about a "wild west" scenario following pullout, regarding property belonging to settlers and the possibility of Hamas or other armed factions gaining control of the area.
Theses scenarios are only present in the minds of Israelis. The Israelis also spoke about (Palestinian) civil wars and that did not happen. Now they are talking about wild scenarios.
Dahlan says the Palestinian Authority has formulated a plan designed to prevent disorder, violence or any attempt by factions wanting to gain control of property left behind after disengagement.
There are rumors among Palestinians of a fear of corruption in regards to properties belonging to settlers. Will certain criteria be determined in order to divide the homes that are left standing?
If the homes are left intact, our special teams would determine certain criteria to ensure the homes would be divided fairly, as was done in our previous project last week.
Hundreds of homes from money donated by the United Arab Emirates were distributed to people whose homes were destroyed during the Intifada.
The project was flawless.
Dahlan is scheduled to meet with Minister-without-Portfolio and disengagement coordinator Haim Ramon on Wednesday.
"Israel claims we are not interested in coordinating the disengagement," Dahlan says. "Even after Abu Mazen (PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) appointed me as head coordinator, the Israelis have still not cooperated."
He says the PA has requested from Israel information regarding property, homes, and infrastructures, but have not yet received an answer or information.
"Our economy in Gaza has been damaged by Israel and the border crossings. We are demanding a change in the situation and policies," he says. " Israel must understand that without allowing us to operate an airport in Gaza and without allowing a crossing between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank the process (disengagement) will not succeed."