Tarteks, 43, lives together with her husband and six children in Nitzan, a community of temporary houses founded to house former Gush Katif settlers.
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Like many other displaced settlers from the strip, Tarteks is having a hard time rebuilding her life and thinks about her former life daily, especially in regards to the major differences in quality of life.
"For 14 year we lived in the community of Pe'at Sadeh. My husband had 9 dunam of greenhouses and he also worked as the local security coordinator. I worked as a caregiver and the community's secretariat," she said.
Pe'at Sadeh durring pullout (Photo: AFP)
"We worked hard and raised our children well. We even managed to build a house but unfortunately we only got to live in it for 10 months."
According to the Council of Shomron Settlers, eight years after the pullout, and three years after a governmental inquiry committee ruled that the State failed in its treatment of the displaced former settlers, a whopping 50% of settlers who have chosen to continue to live with their original communities have yet to move into permanent residence (only 670 of the 1,450 families).
Gush Katif house being taken apart (Photo: Reuters)
Unemployment rates among former settlers are around 16% (while the Israeli average is roughly 6.5%).
The Housing Ministry on the other hand claims that 88% of the former settlers have already moved into permanent housing.
"Nitzan does not feel like home," Tarteks stressed. "There is no community life here. People have ne reason to leave their houses. No one can bare to hear anyone else's cries anymore.
"After the eviction, me and my husband attempted to start a business, but we crashed. When we turned to the directorate which was supposed to help us, all they wanted was for us to move into permanent housing, but it didn't interest them that we had no money to live and feed our children with."
After learning jewelry making, Tarteks travels from time to time to work in a jewelry factory in Kfar Saba, but it is not enough, and all she wants is "to get back to living," as she calls it.
"We're still trying to revive our business, but recently the bank informed us that our account has been foreclosed, and for the last two months we have been living on zero income."
Her children top her priorities and it is in this regard that the past seems to haunt her: "I did not fight the expulsion enough, but today I will fight until my children will have a home. I would have liked to receive help in coping with all the difficulties of the last years, but I see that no one cares about the evicted."
A story of successful assimilation can be found with Lior Toubel, 31, married mother of four, who moved to Bnei Netzarim some four years ago, where she and her family "managed to form a community... very reminiscent of the Gush (Katif), even in its view, the sand."
Nonetheless, she added "it's a completely different life."
Eliyahu Ouzan, 51, noted he has "managed to rebuild a life. We feel cured…. The memory is with us all year long, but we've started a new process, after great hardship. It wasn’t easy but we're grateful for what we have. We decided we're not going to let the pain take over us."
Housing Minister Uri Ariel said he has been supporting the relocated settlers "from day one… asking myself what I can do for them every day.
The minister added that further housing plans are advanced so as to "end the lengthy suffering and allow every one of Gush Katif residents the opportunity to rehabilitate and live with dignity like any other citizen."
Ilana Curiel also contributed to this report
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