TEL AVIV (Aug. 2)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan stressed today that removal of refugees from some camps in the Gaza Strip was a “single act” necessitated by security reasons and in no sense a long-range action. Dayan made the comment in saying he disagreed with use of the term “thinning out” by Gen. Shlomo Gazit, the coordinator of activities in the occupied areas, in describing the transfer of refugees from the Nuizerat camp, the largest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, to empty apartments in El Arish in northern Sinai. Dayan said there were “ample” numbers of empty residences in the West Bank which could be used to accommodate a large part of the refugee population of the Gaza Strip. Noting that so far, only 200 refugee families had volunteered for evacuation, he said the problem now facing the Israeli authorities was whether to “force” refugees to accept alternative places of residence. He added that the refugees who insisted on remaining in the camps should have their housing improved and assured of regular employment. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities started the evacuation of several refugee families from the Shati camp where homes were demolished for construction of new roads for security purposes, the same reason for similar razing of homes of refugees in the Nuizerat camp. It was estimated that the total number of refugees scheduled for evacuation and transfer because of the road construction would reach 1,000.