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Hendel looking to buy inside Green Line (JERUSALEM POST) By MATTHEW GUTMAN 02/02/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1107314583330 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Zvi Hendel, chairman of the National Union Party, and the only MK to live in Gush Katif, has quietly appointed a legal team to investigate the feasibility of moving several settlements, including his own, to beachfront property inside the Green Line, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Hendel is one of the more outspoken critics of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon´s disengagement plan, often saying that it could lead to civil war.

Members of the Hof Aza Regional Council have shunned residents who sought legal counsel as a preliminary step in voluntarily evacuating their homes.

"Yes, I am for Gush Katif," Hendel said Tuesday evening, "but if we lose this struggle, we need to do something to ensure that we stay a community."

The initiative, which Hendel and the forum of lawyers he assembled have kept secret, raised the ire of right-wing activists and Disengagement Authority officials.

One official wondered how on the one hand Hendel "works feverishly to torpedo our work at every step, and on the other he is preparing to abandon totally Gaza in preparation for the big fight over the second pullout in the West Bank."

Hendel´s forum is headed by Tel Aviv lawyer Yitzhak Meron. It has also been charged with providing legal aid to anti-disengagement activists arrested for violence at protests.

Studies conducted of the evacuated residents of the Sinai settlement of Yamit showed that those that remained in tight-knit communities better weathered the trauma, Hendel said, adding, "The others crumbled."

Hendel´s team was tasked with finding ways to secure some 25,000 dunams (6,250 acres) around the Nitzanim beach between Ashkelon and Ashdod for relocated settlers.

While Hendel´s men were trying to find ways to make Nitzanim a beachhead for displaced settlers, many individuals in Gush Katif were branded as traitors for expressing a readiness to move elsewhere.

"We´ve lost everything just because we had a meeting of people interested in talking to lawyers about moving," said Avishai Nativ of Rafiah Yam. "They [Hendel and the regional council] go and set up a group of lawyers talking about where to move? It´s despicable."

Nativ and several other residents of Gush Katif have been virtually shunned within their settlements for hosting members of Shuvi, a women´s organization that promotes evacuation from the Gaza Strip. Nativ and Meir Rosenstein, also interested in moving, accuse members of the regional council of publishing a widely distributed leaflet urging residents of Neveh Dekalim to boycott their businesses.

In Hendel´s defense, Emily Amrusi, spokeswoman for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said, "This is not a contradiction. You have car insurance, don´t you. Even though you don´t want to have an accident, you must protect yourself in case it happens."

She said that the council was aware of the efforts to provide a safety net for Gaza residents after the evacuation.

Baruch Ben-Yosef, a former member of Hendel´s legal team, said he quit in disgust when he learned that as part of the legal forum´s duties he would be tasked with interpreting the evacuation compensation bill.

"I thought I had been asked to join to stop disengagement, not to be part of it," he said. "The whole thing was absolutely hypocritical." (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 02/02/05)

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