Gush settlers blamed for housing woes


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Settlers evacuated from Gush Katif in 2005 are mostly to blame for the fact that they are not yet in permanent housing, a former official told a commission of inquiry.

The commission into the Israeli government’s handling of the resettlement of the Gush Katif evacuees, appointed by Supreme Court  President Dorit Beinisch after state Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issued a report on the government’s poor performance in resettling the evacuees in March 2006, began its work Sunday.

"Before the disengagement we turned to all the community leaders, presented the alternatives, but as the disengagement drew closer, the rift with the residents grew," Yonatan Bassi, the former manager of the SELA aid authority for Gaza Strip residents, told the commission.

Bassi said community leaders and rabbis prevented residents from cooperating with his agency.

Doron Ben Shlomi, chairman of the Gush Katif Settlers Council, gave the commission information reflecting that only 60 to 70 families of the 1,800 evacuated from Gush Katif have been given permanent housing. About 1,200 families are still living in caravillas and the rest are in temporary housing, according to Shlomi.

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