Monday, May 15, 2006

A New Status Report from the Gush Katif Expellees

This just came in to my mail box:-

Status Report – Nine Months after the “Disengagement”

Gush Katif Committee - May 2006
By Dror Vanunu, International Coordinator.

Nine months have passed since the terrible crisis befell us and we struggle to understand that we, who built homes, hothouses and public buildings, have to start afresh. It is a painful process, difficult and complicated, demanding effort and dedication to rebuild our lives after we were certain that our lives were settled.

After an exhausting process most of us have arrived at ‘caravillas’ located in four major centers: Nitzan, Lachish, Yad Binyamin and the Negev (Yated and Yivol). These small structures in the modern refugee camps built for us are uncomfortable, but one shining fact stands out: despite all the efforts to harass and disperse us, 85% of us remain united. This group unity makes it easier for us to face new realities.

The slogan trumpeted by the government prior to the expulsion – “There is a solution for every settler” – pales before the fact that 98% of our people have yet to find permanent housing and are still wandering from one temporary home to another. High unemployment statistics combined with delays in paying compensation to those torn from their homes, farms and businesses has had a devastating effect on those hundreds of families who not long ago were self-supporting and now find themselves forced to use compensation money simply to stay alive.

He who visits the various locations where Gush Katif refugees are located will find, along with the pain and frustration, a positive and optimistic attitude toward efforts to rebuild their lives. The Gush Katif Committee and individual communities are working together in dealing with government bureaucrats and other interested parties. Slowly, slowly we are beginning to see in certain areas projects that are being developed, hothouses rebuilt, and the revival of that special spirit that permeated the communities of Gush Katif prior to their destruction. The process of rehabilitating the expellees is long and complicated, and may continue for years to come. Only if the government views the rehabilitation of the expellees as a desired national objective, with the involvement of non-governmental agencies, will the Gush Katif communities be restored to their place as a constructive sector of our people and society.

In my opinion, having discussed this with others, the impression is that in addiiton to "getting rid" of the "territories", this government wants also to destroy the "community spirit" that permeates our life style so as to minimize any future development of Nationalist-Religious ideology and capabilities.

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