TEL AVIV (Aug. 1)
The transfer of Arab refugees from the Nuizerat camp, the largest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip to empty apartments in El Arish, will be resumed this week after an initial resettlement of 60 refugee families in the northern Sinai township, officials here reported today. They said there are now more than 1,000 such empty flats in El Arish, vacated by the Egyptian administration and military personnel. The flats have been renovated and connected to electricity supplies and have indoor water. The officials also said that the number of refugees transferred to El Arish, a key point in the 1956 and 1967 wars, was about half of the refugees removed from their homes in the refugee camps to enable the Israeli occupation officials to pave roads in the camp. The other refugees have found their own new housing or have been settled in other parts of the Gaza Strip, including Gaza town.
The “thinning out” of the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip was ordered for security reasons and not as part of any general solution of the Gaza refugee problem, according to Gen. Shlomo Gazit, the officer in charge of the coordination of activities in the occupied areas. Speaking on a radio broadcast last night, Gen. Gazit also said that some 200 houses already demolished in the project had been chosen in line with the master plan for road building and that every house in the route of the road project will have to be demolished. There were no indications of refugee opposition to the Nuizerat transfers, it was reported, but some of the refugees shifted to the modern housing in El Arish told authorities they had trouble getting used to the running water and indoor toilets and that they would prefer to live under the admittedly worse camp conditions. However, all have been provided with work and those eligible for help from the United Nations Relief and Works Administration are getting it. The transfers are being carried out without the cooperation of UNRWA but the UN agency is being given details of the transfers so that the refugees qualified for UNRWA aid can continue to get it in their new housing.