Four years after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip the government expenditure on compensation and damages, paid to people evacuated form the Strip and the northern West Bank, amounts to NIS 10 billion (approx. $2.54 billion).
The SELA Administration for Assistance to Settlers from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria presented the government with its updates expenditure report during Sunday's cabinet meeting.
According SELA assessments, the direct and indirect assistance given to Gaza evacuees has reached NIS 7.1 billion ($1.8 billion).
To that, the Treasury added the defense establishment's security expenditures – 2.7 billion so far – as well as SELA's general expenditures, which come to about NIS 400 million ($686.46 million and $101.69 respectively).
Further analysis of the figures revealed that until now, the evacuees received NIS 4.8 billion (about $1.23 billion) in restitution – an average of NIS 3.4 million (roughly $860,000) per family.
Some NIS 891 million ($227 million) went into temporary housing, NIS 516 million ($132 million) were allotted to welfare and the cost of relocating evacuees to their new permanent residences is expected to total NIS 901 million ($230 million).
The SELA Administration reported that 93% of the evacuees' cases have been dealt with in full, but SELA officials admitted that the money does little to make up for the mental and emotional anguish many of the evacuees still suffer.
According to the administration's data, many of the evacuees are still unemployed and are living off the restitution funds.
Several other unresolved issues concern the relocation of Gaza's former residents: SELA insists it adheres to the guidelines set by the Evacuation-Compensation Law, but many of the evacuees are demanding some of its criteria be elasticized. The administration says that if the demand is met, the move would cost the State an additional NIS 1 billion.
Though in recess, the Knesset's Finance Committee tasked a special team with analyzing the evacuees' demands and coming up with possible solutions.
Both the coalition and the opposition have expressed a desire to see issues resolved, preferably by mutual consent, but if need be – by legislation.
According to SELA's report, with more restitution payments underway, it is still impossible to accurately assess the final coat of the 2005 pullout.