Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

OUTRAGE! Jewish Gaza refugees still paying debts on their old farms

A group of Jewish refugees from Gush Katif in Gaza - most of whom are still homeless and jobless nearly three years after the Sharon-Olmert government expelled them from their homes and businesses - has gone to court to force the Olmert-Barak-Livni government to live up to an agreement to cancel the debts they incurred to finance their farming infrastructure (like the picture of the hothouses at the top of this post) when their communities were set up thirty years ago.
The decision to erase debts incurred by Gush Katif pioneers when they established their communities was made by the Knesset Finance Committee in 2004. As with other areas around the country, Gaza communities benefited from long-term loans from the Jewish Agency in order establish farming infrastructure, but when the Sharon Administration decided to pull out of Gaza, it became clear that local residents would be unable to repay the debts.

Because the Finance Committee had supposedly "taken care" of canceling Gush Katif debts to the World Zionist Organization, the Knesset Laws Committee did not enshrine the debt erasure in the 2005 Evacuation – Compensation Law [In Israel, this is know as "yihye b'seder" - it will be okay. It's a lousy philosophy and too much of the country runs on it. We saw the results in the summer of 2006. CiJ]. As a result, Gaza residents were left with little legal protection and saddled with debt for farming equipment and farm land they can no longer access.

According to Anita Tucker, formerly of Netzer Hazani, the debt repayment is an especially sore point for pioneers who built up Jewish Gaza soon after the area was liberated from Egypt during the Six Day War.

"When we came to Gush Katif over 30 years ago, the World Zionist Organization gave a package of benefits to encourage agriculture in development areas. We received various essentials to start a farm. I was a farmer in Gush Katif for 29 years. We were in the process of paying back those initial benefits, when the government threw us out of the land, that it had originally encouraged us to develop."

Three years after the government forcibly removed Gaza's Jewish residents from their homes, expellees continue to be scattered in a variety of temporary housing arrangements, and most remain without suitable employment options. Most refugees survive on compensation payouts they received at the time of the eviction.

To raise funds to build a new dairy infrastructure in order to create a post-disengagement source of economic stability, some former Gush Katif communities sold shares in Tnuva, Israel's largest dairy product manufacturer. There is now a foreclosure order for approximately 3 million shekels on that money in order to cover the debts the refugees owe to the Zionist organization.

The lawsuit names as defendants the government, World Zionist Organization, the Finance Ministry, the accountant general, the agriculture minister and the Sela Disengagement Authority, and asks the court to force the above-mentioned bodies to enforce the government's decision. They say the plaintiffs' real ability to restore and rebuild their lives has suffered, and due to the huge sums involved (which is more than the sum total of the payout they have received to date), it has impaired their abilities to repair their lives in the future.
Three years ago, the Sharon-Olmert government took 10,000 vibrant and thriving Jews, destroyed their communities and made them homeless and unemployed by treating them like trailer trash. Now that Sharon is (all but) gone, the Olmert-Barak-Livni government is trying to ensure that these people remain economic (and in many other ways) basket cases for life by letting the 'Jewish Agency' (controlled by a Sharon appointee) take the pittance of compensation they received for having their lives destroyed. And if Olmert and Livni and Condi Rice get their way, there will soon - God forbid - be 400,000 other Jews like them. This is disgusting beyond belief!


At 8:16 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:16 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If we look in the prophetic literature, ancient Israel and Judah were punished not so much for ritual violations as forgetting to look after their brethren. The one thing G-d wants to see most is justice. There's the fact Jewish possession of Eretz Israel is not absolute and unconditional but is predicated on ethical behavior. The expulsion of 400,000 more Jews could well bring about an end to the Jewish State. G-d expects a lot of a nation of holy priests and its time Israel began living up to that standard by making amends to the Gush Katif refugees.

At 5:34 AM, Blogger cyndijane said...

DISGUSTING! These families have tamed and nurtured their lands witth blood, sweat and, tears. The debts must be forgiven. It was ridiclous to negotiate anything with the BLOOD-LUSTY palis. They immediately went in and destoyed the sacred Synagogues, the greenhouses, etc. I have no sympathy for those evil people and I don't understand how Israel repeatedly has to give them more and more territory and other outrageous concessions. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Jews. Israel will become stronger when (hopefully) Bebe Netanyahu steps back into the role of P.M. in November.
cj in Central Florida, USA


Post a Comment

<< Home