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In August 2005, the government of Israel kicked out some 8-10 thousand people, the entire population of the thriving Jewish communities of Gaza. They had made the desert blossom, grown wonderful bug-free organic crops, created agricultural innovations and acted -- just by their presence -- as early warning when one of their friendly Arab neighbors came down with Sudden Jihad Syndrome and started to trot off to bomb a restaurant or snipe at a car driving by. The Government had believed that making Gaza Judenfrei would create the climate for peace with the Palestinian Arabs.
Like they say, cast your crumbs on the water, and they'll come back soggy. In this case, Israeli got a huge increase in missiles landing among its civilian population, a bill for resettling the refugees that they still haven't been able to pay and demoralized Jews. As part of the fallout, the Arabs of Gaza now have the room to expand their bomb-making facilities and the space to build educational facilities to train others in innovative ways to murder the infidel.
Before the expulsion, the Israeli Government showed great competence in hardening -- brainwashing -- the soldiers whose awful job it would be to destroy the homes and businesses of fellow Jews (See here.). The consulates also fielded a large PR program to convince everyone that the refugees were receiving just recompense for their destroyed houses. Unfortunately for them, their arithmetic just didn't add up. (See here.) In retrospect, it is clear the bureaucrats didn't think to build new housing for the refugees-to-be or set up job training programs or do much constructive planning, whether because of incompetence, indifference or design.
It is utterly amazing that having proven they couldn't handle 10,000 displaced people, there are credible rumors that some in the Government are getting ready to create hundreds of thousands of new refugees of the Jews living in Samaria and Judea and parts of Jerusalem. Besides the rumors there's the logic that goes like this: (1) The Obama administration has terrorized Israel into stopping any expansion in the Territories in anticipation of creating yet another Arab state. (2) Such a state will not allow Jews in it. The Arabs aren't big on sharing. (3) Hence the Jews will be expelled to whatever is left of Israel, demoralized, swelling the ranks of the unemployed, contributing to the confusion and easy prey to the triumphant jihadists. Other indicators suggest that the Government might not even try to take responsibility for the next batch of refugees. This is from an email from the Hebron Jewish Community, May 2, 2010:
The state of Israel has filed a damage suit against the Jewish community of Hebron for the sum of over 300,000 NIS (approximately $80,000) to cover the costs of expulsion of Jewish families from Beit HaShalom a year and a half ago."
There was no question that Jews owned the house; the purchase was
legal and the families had lived in the house for almost 2 years
"prior to being forcibly expelled by police and riot squad officers.
The expulsion orders were issued by Defense Minister Ehud Barak."
The State wants some Israeli citizens to cover the cost of being
expelled from their homes. How grotesque!
WHAT FOLLOWS ARE SOME SNAPSHOTS OF THE STATUS OF THE FIRST WAVE OF REFUGEES. The first two are assessments of current status -- or as recent a reasonable summary as we could find -- for housing and jobs. The next two are writeups of what two remarkable women have accomplished. These women are of an age they'd be thinking of retirement under different circumstances; they aren't experienced in politics -- or they weren't when they started. But they overcame the depression of seeing a life's work destroyed, their close-knit communities scattered, their possessions which they had been reassured were safely stored vandalized and/or improperly stored and ruined. Instead, they created projects for the future. It was too important to leave to an incompetent bureaucracy.
The last article is about changing attitudes in Israel about the "settlers." The far left continues to demonize them and like Obama expects the tooth fairy of peace as soon as the settlements -- the towns and villages in Samaria and Judea -- cease to exist. However, the major consequences of the Gaza expulsion -- more missiles lobbed at Israeli cities; more treason among Israeli Arabs; and more demands for concession rather than praise at their sacrifice (although we don't understand why they expect high regard for stupidly shooting themselves in the foot) -- have caused many to reconsider their conditioned reaction to the "settlers." One would think that in a small country like Israel, it would be hard to avoid seeing what the settlers have accomplished and how close the Arabs would be should they take over Samaria and Judea. But many Israelis have avoided physical contact. Now some are taking the initiative and visiting the suburbs.
"Israel mishandling Gush Katif evacuees"
July 1, 2009
State comptroller cites "lack of logistical work" and says authorities are exhibiting "insensitivity."
Three-and-a-half years after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, two-thirds of the 8,500 evacuees are still living in temporary housing sites, and the move-in date for their permanent housing is still far off, according to a report filed Wednesday by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. In response, the Knesset's State Control Committee decided to form an official committee of inquiry to investigate shortcomings and failures in the treatment and resettlement of the evacuees. Lindenstrauss's report found serious deficiencies and delays in dealing with permanent housing solutions.
A total of 95 percent of the Jewish former Gaza residents who had requested to join "communal housing" similar to the makeup of their settlement communities remain without permanent housing, the report found. In all, two-thirds of the Gaza evacuees have asked to be resettled in such communities. "The evicted families paid a heavy price following the disengagement, and continue to pay it even today," the report states. "The process of relocating them could still take years." In contrast, most of the families who chose to be resettled individually after receiving a lump sum in government compensation for their homes have found housing, the report found.
The report placed most of the blame on the government body charged with dealing with the evacuation of the Gaza settlers - known by its Hebrew acronym, SELA - castigating the groundwork it did ahead of the pullout as both "partial" and "lacking depth." "The lack of proper preparatory work is a significant flaw [that] caused great misery and harm to the evacuees, and cost the state financially," the report said. "Sela did not properly check in advance the residents' preferences in terms of where they wanted and were suited to live, the status of the land at the designated sites, and the costs of the various projects," the report stated.
In the report, the state comptroller also cited unnecessary bureaucratic delays in dealing with relocating the evacuees to permanent housing, due to wrangling between the Construction and Housing Ministry and the Defense Ministry over who was responsible for the issue. He said that many of the evacuees in the temporary housing solutions known as "caravillas" or pre-fab homes were living "in a state of despair" due to poor infrastructure conditions. "The structures are characterized by severe infrastructure faults, including wet walls, broken floor tiles, and frequent power outages," the report stated.
The report suggested that responsibility for the upkeep of the temporary housing sites be transferred to the Construction and Housing Ministry. The report also cited government delays in paying compensation for businesses that were evacuated, noting that three years was "a long time" to pay out such compensation. The government paid out NIS 735 million in such funds by the end of 2007.
On the positive side, Lindenstrauss noted that the authorities responsible for welfare services had carried out their job professionally, hired high-quality workers and invested significantly in helping the expelled citizens. "The test of the real end of the evacuation project is the proper rehabilitation of the evacuees in their new communities, so that they do not become a needy, dependent and weak part of the population," the comptroller concluded. A spokeswoman for SELA said the government body could not comment on the report, as it had not received an advance copy and had gotten it only after journalists and lawmakers. She added that "there were solutions" for all 1,100 families who sought to be resettled together. MK Zevulun Orlev, who initiated the inquiry committee's establishment following the report's publication, said that "the state comptroller's report proves what we all know:
The disengagement was not just a security disaster, but a moral injustice. "In contrast to the fallacious slogans of the government, almost none of the [Gaza] settlers have a [housing] solution, and now all the residents of southern Israel are living under the 'Color Red' [rocket siren]," he said. The decision to establish the inquiry committee passed by a vote of 7-1 .
"JobKatif Helps Gush Katif Victims Find Jobs"
Israel Situation website
February 8, 2010
This is a guest post from Yehudit at JobKatif, a non-profit dedicated to find employment for families impacted by the Gaza Strip disengagement.
Following the Israeli government's investigation into the after-effects of the Disengagement this past summer, JobKatif has launched an on-site census of the former residents of Gush Katif and Northern Samaria.
No government office or entity has precise information or statistics about the former Gush Katif residents. While the Government Commission of Inquiry officially revealed that unemployment was a direct result of the Disengagement, JobKatif has discovered that the displaced families are suffering in many other ways.
"After almost five years, it is about time we get an overall picture of what condition these people are in," says JobKatif Executive Director, Judy Lowy. "Statistics from the census will be used to help them in the most effective way. We felt this was necessary because the more we help them, the more we discover how in-depth the long-term problems are," Lowy says.
Using the services of a group of consultants who specialize in employment, the organization hired and trained a staff of five people - all former Gush Katif residents. They are going door-to-door conducting interviews and using questionnaires to gain the only real comprehensive picture of their lives five years post-Disengagement.
"The only way we could get their full cooperation was by using people they trust to let in their [temporary] homes," Lowy says.
JobKatif was recently awarded a conditional grant of $4.5 million on a matching basis by the Israeli government. The grant is contingent on the organization raising the equal amount. Every donation to JobKatif for the next five years will be matched 1:1.
Israel Situation Editor's Note: I have visited the website and this is a wonderful answer to a difficult situation. Please let people know about this cause, particularly if they are hiring in Israel.
Gush Katif Viewpoint 159
March 21, 2010
This was written by Rachel Saperstein, a refugee from Neve Dekalim in Gaza. Since the expulsion, she and her husband Moshe have been living in a caravilla in Nitzan. She has been a leader in the Lachish project, which is constructing a new community. They placed the cornerstone for the new community in October 2009. Her town will be called Bnei Dekalim, a new home for the people of Neve Dekalim, Gush Katif, Gaza. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's hard to say goodbye to friends and neighbors. The authorities come and begin to remove the red roof tiles. All the windows are taken out. Two flatbed trucks arrive and the "caravilla" is cut in two, each half lifted on to a truck and carted away. Hopefully it will end up in a new settlement. Weeds and wildflowers grow rapidly on the site covering any trace of what was the temporary home of a Gush Katif refugee family.
Our neighbors and friends in Nitzan are slowly moving away. Most are building up the hill, close to the old Nitzan moshav. Homes are in various stages of construction. Some are large and some are small. All are attractive. Many families have built extra bedrooms to accommodate married children and grandchildren when they come for Shabbat or holidays.
The crisis comes with those who have 'no rights'. Who are the families who have no rights? They fall into various categories. There are those who had, in Gush Katif, rented from private owners who had left for other parts. The owners received compensation for their homes while even long-term renters received practically nothing.
Others had lived in Gush Katif for an arbitrarily decreed insufficient time and now had 'no rights' to build with the community they had become part of and grown to love.
A third category are children born and raised in Gush Katif who received minimal compensation but 'no rights' to build.
Others owned small homes and received small compensation that doesn't cover half the cost of an equivalent home today.
Let us not forget those who were paying mortgages on the homes that were destroyed and whose compensation money was taken to pay off the mortgages.
Nor should we forget the unemployed and underemployed who use the compensation money for necessities and have nothing left for building.
Building costs have skyrocketed. Many have run out of funds to continue building. Others have used all their funds for building and have nothing left for living expenses. The problems seem endless.
It is now five years since our expulsion and at last families are moving into real homes. We wish those who have built wisely many years of happiness in their new homes. I will miss them very much.
"The Spirit of Netzer Hazani Lives On"
Yom Hazikaron, Yom Ha'atzmaut, Pesach and Rebuilding
April 18, 2009
Anita Tucker was a celery famer in Netzer Hazani, Gush Katif, Gaza. Her community is building a new Hazani community. Contact her at email@example.com and visit her websites: http://netzerhazani.blogspot.com and www.netzerhazani.org
She wrote in January
Netzer Hazani was a flourishing town in Gush Katif for thirty years.
The homes, farms and beautiful community buildings, a lifetime of efforts and endeavors were destroyed to a pile of rubble .
Today Netzer Hazani, a new town, is being built near Yesodot in the Nachal Sorek area.
Here the spirit and values that we salvaged from the rubble will again G-d willing blossom and flourish.
You have encouraged us to continue.
G-d has apparantly decided that it can only happen if you, our caring fellow Jews, are a partner in these efforts.
You now have the opportunity to partner and to make that difference. The infrastructure on site is ready and awaits our ability to begin construction.
Your funds will partner with ours and that of the Government of Israel to enable the completion of the community buildings, community center, childrens center, playgrounds, etc.
CONSTRUCTION will begin the repair of the DESTRUCTION in the hearts of every one of Am Yisrael.
If you care and understand this, follow your heart, do it now with whatever you can!
After Pesach, she wrote this:
Please click here to watch a short 2 minute video of me talking about Yom Hazikaron ((Memorial Day) and Yom Ha'atzaut (Independence Day). Both days are so very important to us. For the full 8 minutes of my speaking about the importance of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atmaut to us here at Netzer Hazani clip click here.
I also wanted to take a step back and tell you all about our amazing Pasach. It filled us with so much emuna -- reminding us of all the miracles that G-d performed for us and reminding us that every generation we are threatened and Hakadosh Baruch Hu is there for us.
Just as we end Pesach, and prepare for post-Pesach depression, the morracan Jews have a custom to have a Maimuna and celebrate some more!
By the way, did you know that the only difference verbally between a Morracan and an American is just really an A?
Getting back to the Maimuna, did you know that Meimuna means emuna/faith and it is called that because it is a holiday that gives you an extra shot of faith by making all of Am Yisral friends for an evening by enabling them to feel like a true Klal.
My Gush Katif Netzer Hazani community, as you know, is made of people whose families come from 18 different exiles and every year in Gush katif the families from moroccan origin had Maimunas and we would go from one Maimuna to another one and really enjoy the feeling of togtherness, of Klall Yisraelness filled with emuna, or maimuna, that Pesach gave us.
Click here to get a feel for our very special Maimuna this year.
Now the caravillas are small -- so we all get together in the bigger community room and we all decorate it moroccan syle. Beforehand we all divide up into, no matter which exile our family stems from, some making the sweet traditional fruit jams, others the muflettas (made of flour water and oil) some spreading the butter and honey on the hot ready muflettas and others folding them up in a special traditional way. The most important job, however, belongs to the hosts -- all wearing some traditional robe and fez or hat of their tradition (of course my husband Stuart wore his kittel that still had some wine stains from the seder which matched the red fez hats) and the hosts then greet all who join us from the kibbutzim and moshavim from the surrounding area.
Fun was had by all, a feeling of Emuna was experienced by all and a much needed boost of hope, for our community of Netzer Hazani, as we continue our rebuilding process to resettle the Land of Isreal in our own homes once again. It is so exciting to show you these next pictures to see the beginnings of our future rebuilt community. Click here to see the short video.
"TV Broadcaster Visits Shomron, Says It Was 'Revolutionary'"
by Hillel Fendel
April 15, 2010.
Shomron: Not What He Thought
Noted TV/radio broadcaster Avri Gilad visited Samaria on Wednesday, and in his next show described it as causing an "awareness revolution."
Gilad visited several Jewish towns in the area in the framework of visits organized by the Samaria (Shomron) Regional Council for journalists and public figures. Based on Gilad's comments on his Army Radio show today, the visit succeeded beyond expectations.
"Yesterday I was on an awareness-revolution tour in settlements in the Shomron," Gilad said on the daily "Last Word" show that he frequently co-hosts. "I visited places that I had been taught to hate, and I came back confused. Confused at the stupidity of the State that called on people to settle those areas, gave them licenses to build, and then froze them."
"I was surprised to meet a community of people with whom I had a lot to talk about," Gilad continued, "and with much warmth and closeness. Most of the leftist talk about settlers is with hatred."
He said he was very surprised by how close the Shomron is to the Tel Aviv area: "A 23-minute drive and you're already deep into the territory."
The day-long tour was guided by Yossi Dagan, advisor to Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika, and Boaz HaEtzni.
The itinerary included:
Some 40 Cabinet ministers and MKs, and dozens of journalists and public relations personnel have already taken part in the personal tours, which are often carried out one-on-one.
Editor's Note: Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI) has been
taking Americans to visit Samaria and Judea for years to show support
for the courageous and patriotic pioneers that live in the
settlements. Many on these tours come year after year to see new
developments. Until 2005, AFSI also went to Gush Katif in Gaza. Find
out about the next mission by contacting them by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org; or by accessing their website at http://www.afsi.org. As a
personal note: I (Bernice Lipkin) went on the AFSI mission in 2002 and
wrote up my impressions in an essay called The Resettlement
Revisited". Read it here.
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