Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he was pleased with construction in parts of the western Negev designated to accommodate settlers slated for evacuation as part of the pullout from Gaza and northern West Bank.
“The work is progressing at a very satisfactory pace,” he said during a tour of Nitzan, Mavkiim and Carmiya.
Sharon’s tour of the area comes amid settler claims that, even though the disengagement is scheduled to be carried out in less than three months, they still have nowhere to relocate.
On Thursday, Sharon opened the weekly ministerial disengagement committee meeting to the media for the first time, as government attempt to rebut what it called a "wave of disinformation" by settlers.
Disengagement Office Head Yonatan Bassi reported recently that only a small number of settlers have filed claims for the compensation package offered by the government.
Only 199 families out of 1,700 have turned to the Disengagement Office to receive the funds, he said.
In a tour of the area a month ago, Sharon urged Defense Ministry Deputy Director-General Victor Bar-Gil, who accompanied the prime minister on the tour, to accelerate the construction of temporary and permanent residential sites designated to house Gush Katif settlers.