Almost eleven years to the date of their eviction from their homes, the last group of refugees from Gush Katif on Tuesday signed a deal for permanent housing. Members of the group of former residents of Elei Sinai will settle in southern Israel in the area of Nevei Yam, not far from the Gaza border – and not far from their former homes.
The deal was signed between representatives of the community along with Housing Minister Yoav Gallant and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who is responsible for resettlement of Israelis evicted from their homes in Gush Katif. Altogether there are 20 families in the community who will be resettling in the new community.
Until now, the families – some of whom were originally residents of the Yamit bloc in Sinai, which was cleared out by Israel in 1979 as part of the peace treaty with Egypt – were living in temporary trailer housing. While they had been offered alternative housing, the community wished to remain together, as had been promised to them in 2005, when Israel evicted them from their homes and handed Gush Katif over to Palestinian Authority, and subsequently Hamas, rule.
“Eleven years have passed, and everyone knows what a mistake the disengagement was. It was a useless decision, made for narrow political interests. After lengthy negotiations we have accomplished the resettlement of residents of Elei Sinai to their permanent homes. This agreement is a remedy – albeit a small one – to the suffering that these wonderful people have been forced to deal with for more than a decade,” said Ariel.