Over the past month, the Israeli government has run an ad campaign to encourage farmers who were expelled last summer from Gush Katif to come to an “Employment Tent” in the new mobile home city at Nitzan.

However, evicted farmers who came to the “Employment Tent” last week discovered that they were not offered alternative lands for farming.

Nachi Eyal, the director of the Israel legal Forum, which ha been providing pro bono leagal services for the evacuees, said that, “the government did not prepare alternative property for the expelled farmers, and therefore their life’s work is going down the drain. Today, we see the consequences we feared and about which we warned. People ages 45 to 60, who, until the expulsion supported themselves respectably and paid taxes, may have to remain unemployed forcibly for the rest of their lives.”

Meanwhile, the director of the Agriculture Ministry, Yossi Shai, noted in the presence of Israel’s president a a meeting held two weeks ago with the farmers of Gush Katif that the Expulsion-Compensation Law did not consider agriculture a “Life’s Work”, and therefore the rate of compensation given does not allow the farmers to rebuild their farms. Likewise, the lands that the government is offering are enough for only 30 families, and are far from the places that they live.

Yoram Mosabi, the chairman of Moshave Bdolach and an experienced farmer, said that “more than 350 families in Gush Katif made a living directly from agriculture, and the same number earned their livings indirectly from agriculture.

In other words, 30 percent of Gush Katif residents worked in agriculture for 30 years.

An average farmer, who owned between 10 and 15 dunams, had an average yearly turnover of 600,000 shekel. A sophisticated farm, which raised house flowers,peppers and cherry tomatoes for export, reached a yearly turnover of 2,000,000 shekel.

The farmers of Gush Katif together exported in the range of $60 million annually, not including business on the local market. “And today we are unemployed”, they say

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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