- Commissioned by Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research
Update on the 30,000 shekel burial for Netzer Hazani victim
As a result of this report, and the fact that the researcher contacted the office of Minister of Science and Technology Matan Vilnai, the matter was dealt with by his office and they contacted us yesterday (Sunday) to report that all the money would be returned to Hezi Hazani’s family and that, as a result of this terrible story, the situation won’t repeat itself. Vilnai’s staff is eager to let the public know that if, G-d forbid, another evacuee dies, his family will not have to pay to have their loved one buried. (Explanation for those who missed the previous report: Every citizen of Israel has the right to be buried free of charge in his home town, but the Netezer Hanazi heart attack victim’s family was asked to pay to bury him in Rishon Ltzion, since it’s not his “home town”. He had no current home town, since his home is rubble in Gaza.)
According to the internal Gush Katif website, Katif.net, the community of Moshav Katif, that has been living in very difficult dorm conditions since the disengagement, thought they would finally achieve a modicum of peace of mind when they move to the guest house of Hafetz Haim, after it is vacated by the people of Ganei Tal, who are due to move into their caravans in Yad Binyamin (which, the people of Ganei Tal say, are not yet ready, and in livable condition).
The Katif people, however, had a rude awakening this week when their representatives were told that the Disengagement Authority was willing to pay the hotel only 10% of the cost of the rooms. The hotel had been willing to give a 20% discount, but the Authority reportedly wanted a 90% discount. It also insisted that the hotel provide only one hot meal a day, and that the evacuees would have to manage in their rooms for the other two meals. Having visited the Ganei Tal community in Hafetz Haim, we can report that the rooms are very small, about 60% the size of a regular hotel room, and there are no cooking facilities. Nevertheless, the Moshav Katif people were willing to live in those conditions, but the deal fell through, according to them, due to the demands of the Disengagement Authority.
The Palestinian Authority was contacted for a response but there is only a recorded message that the spokesman will be back after the 19th.
The community of Bdoloch staying in the Shirat Hayam Hotel has been told that the hotel will be closed, and it should stop providing food and other services. We spoke with Uri Mensharf, the Disengagement Authority contact at the hotel, who refused to give details without permission of the Authority spokesman, but he’s abroad on vacation and won’t be back till the end of the week.
According to Adi, a volunteer at the hotel, there are three families there with no where to go; the others are making do at the homes of friends and families. Some families have moved into caravans in Nitzan. Aaron Farjun, spokesman for Gadid, who moved into a caravan in Nitzan several weeks ago, said they are very poor quality and when asked about the fire-proofedness of them, he laughed and said, “First ask if they’re waterproof!” since there have been problems with water pipes leaking, bursting, and some of the waterproofing tests done in recent days proved that some of the caravans (the percentage is not clear) will not withstand the winter.
Shoshi Journeau of the Gadid community staying in the Neve Ilan Hotel, said that some of the families are, for the Succot holiday, back in the same decrepit hotel in Tiberias where they were for Rosh Hashana (as Neve Ilan once again needed their rooms for regular tourists), but the hotel supposedly put in the effort to have cleaned up its act. “There is a little bit of improvement,” says Shoshi, “but we’ve stopped complaining because it doesn’t help much, one can’t ask them for too much.”
Yesterday (Sunday) representatives from Gadid went to see the apartment hotel rooms that the Disengagement Authority had offered them in Ashkelon for the next four months. “There are very tiny rooms, one small burner per family, very uncomfortable. It appears they didn’t even check the place before they sent us to see it,” says Shoshi. “The main thing is they say, ‘We offered the settlers and they refused.’ They also offered larger apartments, that were empty, but for that we’d have to empty all our containers, to get to the furniture we’d need, and we’re afraid that if we leave the hotel for something temporary, that isn’t really a solution, no one will take a second look at us. Now the ball is in their court. For Simhat Tora we were invited to the settlement of Dolev.” What about the problem with no proper laundry arrangements? “The laundry problem was partially solved. We try to solve our problems through friends, but it’s frustrating.”
The containers of Kerem Atzmona, which were packed by the sub-contractors of the Ministry of Defense of Israel, were delivered to their homes in Nitzan this week, and the community’s people were shocked to discover that refrigerators, washing machines, stoves, bookshelves, closets and other furniture had been broken. Other objects were missing. Not all the boxes even made it into the containers, because, they were told by the packers who were also the unpackers, “There wasn’t room.”
Asaf Shariv, media advisory for PM Ariel Sharon, had told this researcher several weeks before the disengagement, when asked if the contents of the containers would be insured, that “the settlers will not bear the financial burden of anything that is broken or missing”.
In general, said Avia Halevi, our contact in Kerem Atzmona, originally from Toronto, “The attitude to us during the disengagement was terrible. It took seven hours to go by bus from Kerem Atzmona to Sderot, a 30-minute trip. First we sat on the bus for three hours, and they wouldn’t even let pregnant women who need the bathroom to get off. Finally they let them go to the bathroom at Kissufim, after a four-hour wait.”
They are currently in Karmia and Nitzan, neither of which encampment has security rooms in the homes or nearby bomb shelters.
Karmia and Nitzan
According to Yossi Ben Baruch, the project director of the building in Karmia and Nitzan, they are “in the process” of building security rooms in Karmia. “We are waiting for money from the Ministry of Defense; it is now being negotiated between the owner of Evelon Technologies, and the Ministry of Defense.” There have already been attempts of infiltrations by terrorists into Karmia.
Ben Baruch said that there are currently 56 buildings in Karmia, of which 46 have been occupied. The remaining 10 are all 90 square meters. He said that there are no security rooms being built now at Nitzan and regarding bomb shelters, “It is in the hands of the Ministry of Defense and other ministries.”
When he was asked if the caravans were fire-proof, he said, “We build according to the Institute of Standards,” but he would not provide documentation proving this.
Aaron Farjun, a spokesperson for Bdoloch currently living at Nitzan, laughed when asked if they’re fireproof. “Ask if they’re waterproof! They’re substandard. There are all kinds of problems with them. They’re made of a little bit of cement wiped over a piece of netting…”
According to Ben Baruch, Evelon is a private company owned by Ofer and Tali Asher.
Help for Gush Katif College Students There is an effort underway to help finance college students from Gush Katif who will have a more difficult time meeting their tuition and living demands this year. Since college starts in Israel after the holidays, which this year end toward the end of October. In most years, college students work during the summer and early autumn to help pay their tuition and dorm fees. This year the Gush Katif students were involved in the Disengagement and, later, in helping their families settle into their temporary quarters, so they could not work as usual. Anyone interested in more information concerning this effort should contact Anita Tucker at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions or comments, contact:
Toby Klein Greenwald