Israeli bureaucracy at its best: Residents of the former Gaza Strip settlement of Tel Katifa, who were evacuated last summer, claimed that the Disengagement Authority refused to compensate them because it does not recognize the settlement.
A special committee determined that Tel Katifa residents qualify for a lesser compensation, while in reality they received no compensation at all.
The special committee appointed for Tel Katifa evacuees was instructed by the Disengagement Authority to ignore the evacuees' request to recognize Tel Katifa as a community. Ynet obtained documents which prove that the government did recognize Tel Katifa as a community.
Soldiers evacuate Tel Katifa (Archive photo: Yariv Katz)
Tel Katifa was established a little before the Oslo Accords on land that belonged to Kfar Darom community, with construction permits from then Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Families that moved there initiated the settlement recognition process, as required by law.
According to Attorney Yossi Fux who represents Tel Katifa residents, the government did refer in its decision to evacuate the Gaza Strip to Tel Katifa as a community.
Today, Tel Katifa evacuees live in trailer community in the Lachish district, where they are determined to rebuild their community.
'How am I going to furnish the house?'
"We are very disappointed by the government's treatment. We feel that not only did it add insult to injury after the expulsion, the humiliated treatment we experienced is very enraging," said Yael Langzem, a 33-year-old evacuee.
According to Langzem, nearly a year after the evacuation life is very difficult.
"I am a mother of seven and all I received so far is very minimal, and it's not enough. I'm unemployed, and for six months we have been living without a home and now that we want to move forward, we can't' afford a house. How am I going to furnish the house? I don't understand why they haven't made any decisions yet? It's been 10 months and no decision yet," said Langzem
Attorney Fux pointed the finger at the Disengagement Authority.
"The fact that 10 months after the uprooting the expelled haven't been compensated is a mark of disgrace to the Authority. It was even clear to Sharon's government that Tel Katifa was counted as one of the 25 communities designated for evacuation. Who gives the Authority the right to delay compensation to the evacuees?" he asked.
The attorney suggested to the Authority that Tel Katifa residents be recognized as residents of Kfar Darom, as their identification cards show, but claimed his suggestion was rejected out of hand.
Disengagement Authority officials responded that they were following the evacuation-compensation law which was legislated by the Knesset, and that their actions are derivatives of law.
"According to the law, Tel Katifa is not among the recognized communities list. A special committee examined the issue and decided to approve initial advances to Tel Katifa residents. At the same time, Justice Ministry officials and the Attorney General have decided on criterions for a special payment to unrecognized communities, a process which ended recently. Next Monday, Tel Katifa residents will be able to voice their claims in special committee on the issue of the legality of their community," an official said.