Posted by: Morton A. Klein
July 30, 2008
News

ZOA Deplores Israel Gov’t Ignoring Tragic Plight Of Gush Katif Jews Uprooted In 2005

 81% of Gaza Jews from Gush Katif –


still no permanent homes


 


 


 The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has deplored the continuing neglect by the Israeli government of the tragic plight of the thousands of Jews forcibly uprooted from Gaza by Israel‘s unilateral withdrawal from the territory in 2005. The ZOA expressed its view following reports that the Knesset Audit Committee is likely to support a public inquiry committee to investigate the government’s treatment of Jews uprooted from the Gazan community of Gush Katif. The proposed inquiry follows the release of a report by the Brain Base Institute, headed by Prof. Yitzchak Katz, for the Gush Katif Residents Committee, which shows that 81% of Jews uprooted from Gush Katif in Gaza are still living in temporary housing accommodation, like caravans, and suffering other grave privations (Hillel Fendel, ‘Three Years of Hardship for Gush Katif Expellees,’ Israel National News, July 28, 2008).


 


Other results of the Brain Base Institute’s survey include the following:


 


·        The survey shows that of the 81% still in temporary accommodation, nearly half of them believe that it will take at least two more years – five years since their eviction – until they are able to move to permanent homes. 


·        Two-thirds of the evictees are unhappy with their temporary housing. 


·        The jobless rate among the former Gush Katif residents is 17% – almost 3 times higher than the rest of the country at a time when unemployment nationwide has dropped to its lowest level in 13 years.


·        Nearly a third of those who worked in agriculture – a mainstay of the Gush Katif economy – are currently without work.


·        Well over a third of those made homeless by the withdrawal – 37% – describe their economic situation as bad or very bad.  Of these, 40% say they require financial help from friends or relatives.


·        A quarter of the evicted Jews say they are using their compensation money for day-to-day living, leaving them little or nothing with which to build houses to replace the ones the government razed to the ground.


·        Over half the evictees – 55% – have required psychological help during the last three years.


 


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is simply a scandal that the Brain Base Institute’s grave and depressing findings regarding the circumstances of the evictees from Gush Katif are the reality today, three years since the Israeli government uprooted 9,000 Jews from their homes, schools, synagogues, farms and businesses and destroyed their thriving and delightful communities.


 


“The ZOA was the only major American Jewish organization that was a firm opponent of the Gaza unilateral withdrawal, before, during and after the event and regrettably we were right about the dire consequences that would follow for the security and well-being of Israel and especially for Israeli towns and communities adjacent to Gaza. But not enough has been said or done by any American Jewish organization about the deplorable conditions and treatment meted out to these guiltless, law-abiding and pioneering Israelis uprooted from Gaza, whose livelihoods and very homes were needlessly sacrificed in pursuit of misconceived and false promises of greater security and peace for Israel.


 


“It is especially incumbent upon the Israeli government and all those who supported this disastrous unilateral withdrawal to do their utmost for the Jews who were most drastically affected by it. Regrettably, there has been neglect and for the most part silence. This is not something of which the Israeli government or any genuine Zionist can feel proud. We strongly urge the Olmert government to act now to assist the Gaza evictees so that their travails may be ended and their lives restored to the productiveness and security they enjoyed before the Gaza withdrawal.”