Disengagement Cost to Top NIS 9B

The cost of disengaging from Gaza is nearly NIS 9 billion. The exceptions committee for disengagement matters recently approved a decision to apply the precedent of compensating Gaza evacuees to residents within the Green Line. That case involves some NIS 23 million in funds to be transfered to members of Kibbutz Shomriya in the Negev in exchange for their evacuation.

Shomriya, which numbers 13 families, is a kibbutz in crisis. It has an infrastructure of homes and agriculture, and so Sela, the disengagement administration, believes the kibbutz can serve as a housing solution to some of the evacuees from the former Gaza settlement of Atzmona. The administration is still seeking housing solutions, both temporary and permanent, for the 8,000 Gaza residents evacuated in late August. Sela negotiated with the 13 families about abandoning the kibbutz in favor of Kibbutz Dvir. They agreed that the families would be remunerated according to the criteria used for the Gaza evacuees in the Evacuation-Compensation Law.

According to the offer, each of the 13 families would receive $40,000 for a developed plot in the expanded community of adjacent Dvir, $300,000 in compensation, $8,100 to cover rent for 18 months, NIS 86,000 for six-months of adjustment costs, and up to NIS 17,000 in moving assistance. Each family will receive about NIS 1.75 million in total. Sela, which is being operated without a budget framework, has already crossed the NIS 8.6 billion line and is expected to top NIS 9 billion before it's finished.

Sela head Yonatan Bassi commented that the payment to the Shomriya families is reasonable because it is "half of what we paid to families evacuated from Gaza. We negotiated with the families, requesting them urgently to move out in the middle of the school year, so we could settle the Atzmona families." Bassi explained the families rejected Sela's original offer of $300,000. Later, the families came back requesting "that we add the cost of a lot on Kibbutz Dvir, and we agreed."

Bassi said he deemed it "crucial that the State of Israel complete the disengagement saga in proper order." He noted that "the only way to ensure this is with money."