Settlers complain of relocation problems
Say Disengagement Authority to blame for lack of accomodations following evacuation; senior IDF officer tells Ynet, 'the critical mistake was that the IDF was not given the responsibility of taking care of the settlers from the evacuation through the temporary solution. The Disengagement Authority assigned heartless, brainless people who are chasing their tails. Inadequate planning causes the evacuees further trauma'
Despite the Disengagement Authority's claim that there is a housing solution for every settler, several evacuated families have encountered major relocation problems since being removed from their homes last week.
A number of families who arrived at Mercaz Shapira found no Authority representative to direct them or to tell their buses drivers where to take them.
Yehuda Garman, formerly of Neve Dekalim, said he arrived at Mercaz Shapira on Thursday night. Seven Authority buses were waiting for the evacuees, but as the drivers had surpassed their permitted number of driving hours, the former settlers were forced to wait for several hours with no alternative way of getting to their hotels.
Following hours of waiting, tension, and several screaming matches, the Disengagement Authority sent replacement buses.
Moreover, it was only due to the quick organization of Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Shaul Goldstein and Menachem Granite of Ofra that evacuees had any food to eat, and it was at their insistence the Authority finally sent a representative to Mercaz Shapira.
The 11 members of the Hania family from Neve Dekalim finally arrived at their Jerusalem hotel at 3:30 a.m., only to be told there were no available rooms.
It was only due to the compassion of one worker, who arranged for the family to sleep in one of the hotel's offices, that the family managed to get any sleep at all.
There, with sheets and blankets brought over from friends in the area, they spent what was left of the night.
Religious Netzer Hazani residents were supposed to be sent to a hotel in Eilat, but they refused on grounds the hotel would be inappropriate for members of the Orthodox community, as the southern resort town is well-known for its skimpy dress code and liberal social norms.
Knesset Member Effie Eitam was pressed to act on behalf of the evacuees, who were eventually sent to the guest house Hispin, in the Golan Heights; but there, too, the comedy of errors continued.
At 10.00 a.m. on Sunday, hotel officials told evacuees their stay was over, because the Disengagement Authority had not transferred enough money. Desperate, they called the Administration, but were told there was "no other solution for them."
In response, 60 families threatened to make their way back to the Kissufim Crossing if they were not provided with a reasonable, communal solution.
Meanwhile, Netzer Hazani evacuees have moved in with Hispin residents.
Officials at the Prime Minister's Office, who learned about the incident from Ynet, said "intensive" negotiations were under way to solve the evacuees' problem.
Like many other Gush Katif residents, the Sarussi family from Gan Or refused to believe the pullout would actually take place and therefore made no alternate arrangements for the "day after."
The family was sent to the Royal Hotel in the Dead Sea, but were told by Disengagement Authority officials they could stay there for only 10 days.
However, on Shabbat morning, they were informed they had 24 hours to leave the premises.
As of this writing, Karen Sarussi and her family have no idea what their next destination will be.
"We knew it would take us a couple of days to get organized, to recover, but we haven't even had that. Now we have to decide whether or not to take another hotel room instead of finding ourselves a new home."
She said TV reporters continue to broadcast the message that there is a "solution for everyone," but said that message is patently untrue.
"Where is our solution," she said. "It's infuriating – once again, we are being forced to pack up the few belongings we have, and to wait for them to find us another solution.
The Disengagement Authority does not have representation at the hotels and the families have no one to turn to. Most haven't packed their belongings and carry with them only the basics. The military told them each family will be allowed to send one family member to the house to help and supervise during the relocation process.
Not only evacuees criticize the Disengagement Authority, "insiders" have expressed their opinion too. A senior IDF officer told Ynet, "the critical mistake was that the IDF was not given the responsibility of taking care of the settlers from the evacuation through the temporary solution. The Disengagement Authority assigned heartless, brainless people who are chasing their tails. Inadequate planning causes the evacuees further trauma."
Anat Barshkovsky contributed to this report