Gov´t won´t allow mass-settler move to W. Bank (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF AND MATTHEW GUTMAN 02/01/05)
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Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit, who is in charge of the
government´s compensation legislation for the 8,000 people whom the
government wants to move out of Gush Katif by next fall, said that
the option for group resettlement is to the Negev or Galilee.
Sheetrit said that people who want to move to settlements in the
West Bank as individuals may, but not as a group.
The government expects that many of the settlers will not want to
move to the West Bank, since some that area will probably be
evacuated in the long run as well, the official said.
Some 38 families from the settlements of Nisanit and Elei Sinai have
agreed to move to Bat Hadar a community just south of Ashkelon,
should it be necessary. In return they are to receive a half-dunam
plot, a lump sum cash compensation package and a bonus of $30,000
for moving to one of several "preferred communities." Their
financial compensation depends entirely on the Knesset´s passage of
the Evacuation-Compensation Bill on February 7, said Sela spokesman
Eight families agreed to move within a month.
Moshe Adasha who spearheaded the Elei Sinai-based initiative of a
mass exodus of settlers to a "replica," community elsewhere in
Israel proper called the decision of the 38 families to
leave, "hasty and premature." Yet he said he understood that they
felt "an immediate need to move."
So far, 56 of 85 families living in Elei Sinai have signed a
petition agreeing to leave, should the Knesset pass the Evacuation-
Compensation Bill, Adasha told The Jerusalem Post.
Adasha, along with several others, has lobbied Sela to induce the
government to accept the Nitzanim beach between Ashdod and Ashkelon
as a suitable location to "replicate" their community. Their efforts
have been met with stiff resistance by an overburdened Disengagement
Authority and other government ministries.
Nitzanim is currently, and paradoxically, both a nature preserve and
an IDF firing range. Settlement sources added that a large number of
families from the settlements of the Bedolah, Gan Or, Rafiah Yam and
Gadid are lobbying for their communities to be replicated along the
The Elei Sinai settlers are the second group of families to reach a
formal agreement with the Disengagement Authority. In December, the
25 families of Pe´at Sadeh agreed to relocate to Moshav Mavki´im,
near Ashkelon. According to the Prime Minister´s Office, the
Authority is in negotiations with other Gaza communities.
MK Nissim Slomiansky (National Religious Party) spoke at the Knesset
Finance Committee in early December, on behalf of three communities
that may relocate as wholes.
"I don´t want to give the impression that they are ready to leave,"
Slomiansky said. "However, if there is a situation where they are
taken out by force, then they want to move as an entire community."
"Stopping disengagement is out of our hands and we are worrying
about alternatives," said Shosh Schatz, Elei Sinai resident,
explaining that she hopes such plans will never come to fruition.
She worries that the disengagement compensation packages will not
reimburse residents for the full value of their homes. ´I am now
living in my dream house. My husband and I have been working hard to
pay off our mortgage by the time we turn 40. I am 39 now and we see
a light at the end of the tunnel in a year-and-a-half,´ said Schatz.
Moving will set them back financially by 10 years, she added.
It´s not an issue of money; it´s an issue of standard, said Schatz.
She can deal with the financial loss, but not that of her lifestyle
and community. ´I told the government: do not give us a shekel, just
give us a comparable place to live,´ said Schatz, who has three
Elei Sinai, home to some 90 families, was founded in the winter of
1982 by a number of former Yamit residents. Yamit, located in the
Sinai desert, was evacuated by the government that same year as part
of its peace deal with Egypt. With AP (© 1995-2004, The Jerusalem
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