Photo: AP
Hundreds of Gaza settlers have expressed willingness to leave before the withdrawal
Photo: AP
Photo: Alex Kolomoiski
Disengagement Committee head Yonatan Bassi: Settlers threatened to hurt themselves
Photo: Alex Kolomoiski

Some Gaza settlers threaten suicide

Several settlers from Gaza Strip threaten to harm themselves if they are not moved together as a community, as hundreds of families sign agreements to move ahead of planned pullout during emotional and tear-stained meetings with government officials

JERUSALEM - About 160 settler families from Gaza plan to move on August 1 to a southern Israeli community ahead of Israel’s planned Gaza pullout and some said they would kill themselves if they were not moved together with their current neighbors, a government official said on Sunday.


The deals that the families from the Gush Katif settlement bloc had signed with Israel’s “Disengagement Committee,” which overseas the withdrawal, marked the latest sign that settlers were willing to evacuate willingly ahead of the pullout in Gaza next month.


Dozens of Gaza settlers have in recent months signed similar agreements and Israel has increased its construction of development towns in southern Israel to be able to receive Gaza settlers who have expressed their desire to move together with others from their communities.


“People have been coming to us in recent days in great numbers, while bursting into tears,” said Disengagement Committee head Yonatan Bassi. “It’s a very painful process. We sometimes encounter difficult talk such as ‘If you don’t allow us … we will kill ourselves,’ ‘We will hurt ourselves.’”


A Housing Ministry official said in mid-August, when the pullout is set to begin, Israel would have set up 1,500 temporary housing units for the settlers.


Settlers slated for evacuation from all 21 settlements in Gaza and four of 120 in the West Bank are entitled to government compensation and relocation packages worth USD 100,00-USD 500,000.


Bassi said the US Agency for International Development, or USAID, has been negotiation with the settler s to buy their greenhouses for USD 4,000 each. The United States has said that the structures could later be sold to the Palestinians in Gaza.


Forces already training


Military and police forces have already begun training for the withdrawal, Israel’s first from land Palestinians want for a state.


Possible hurdles that could disrupt the pullout include attacks from Palestinian terrorists and fierce resistance from Israeli right-wingers, who have vowed to fortify Gaza ahead of the withdrawal despite a military closure and stop the evacuation of the 9,000 Gaza settlers.


פרסום ראשון: 07.25.05, 11:13
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