Ashkelon building – Evacuees changed their minds
Photo: Ronny Sofer

Evacuees: Housing deal is off

State purchases apartment building on former settlers’ request; now, evacuees change their mind, refuse to move into new homes

The housing deal signed between the State and the evacuated families from the West Bank settlement of Kfar Darom is off.


About 50 families, who signed a contract in which they committed themselves to moving to an apartment building in the southern city of Ashkelon, have now changed their minds.


In September, the Kfar Darom evacuees asked the State to allow them to live in a new housing project near the Ashkelon seashore. According to the plan, the State would purchase the building for USD 9 million dollars and sell it back to the contractor after two years for USD 5.5 million.


Last week, the families announced that they had changed their minds and do not intend to move into the new apartment building.


The building was bought for the families for an interim period of a few years, until the construction of permanent communities is completed.


Housing Ministry Director-General Shmuel Abuav met the families' representatives on Friday, but no understandings have been reached so far.


Abuav said that many of the families expressed their lack of confidence in the government and claimed the process has been dragging on for an unreasonable period of time. Other families claimed that the urban environment does not fit the rural lifestyle they are used to, and others said they prefer to live near their future permanent community in the Negev area.


Sources in the government offices that worked on the evacuees' housing solutions expressed their anger over the breach of contract.


"The State undertook a very complex and controversial move in purchasing the Ashkelon apartment building, on the evacuees' request," Abuav said.


He added that the State invested tens of millions of shekels not only in buying the building, but also in changing the designation of the building's surroundings in order to build a kindergarten, a synagogue, an office and a club.



Evacuees: We expected a quicker solution


Asher Mivtzari, spokesman for the Kfar Darom evacuees, said that "they have been talking to us about Ashkelon for a long time. We agreed because we understood that it would be the quickest, most readily available solution."


"For a long period of time, there has been a very large gap between what they promised us and reality, and unfortunately, things were not conducted as promised. Therefore, we decided to waive the Ashkelon solution," he said.


"We want to move to a temporary community as fast as possible and not to stay here, even if the alternative is to move to caravans and not to apartments," he said.


The evacuees are expected to meet Sunday evening with Disengagement Administration officials as well as officials from the Prime Minister's Office in order to agree on a different temporary solution for the evacuated families.


Shmulik Hadad and Anat Barshkovsky contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 11.27.05, 14:35
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