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September 10, 2004 - Image 55

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-09-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Preparing Evacuation

In move to avoid a violent confrontation, Gaza settlers are shown carrots and sticks.

GIL SEDAN
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Jerusalem
espite political hurdles, Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon is forging ahead with his Gaza
disengagement plan, giving government agen-
cies the green light to prepare for the evacuation of set-
tlers.
Even as Israeli police begin laying the groundwork
for evacuating Gala, an interministerial team of 70
officials is working out details of a bill to compensate
evacuees in hopes that the prospect of money and
alternate housing will help avert a violent confronta-
tion between settlers and police.
Despite police objections — "no budget, no man-
power" — the Israeli cabinet decided that Israeli police
would perform the actual evacuation. Tzachi Hanegbi,
who resigned recently as minister of internal security,
wanted the army to do the job, as it did in the evacua-
tion of Yamit in northern Sinai 22 years ago.
But most ministers preferred to spare young soldiers
the experience of a potentially violent confrontation
with Jewish citizens.
So police have begun making necessary preparations.
Step one: allocating the funds. Not only will the gov-
ernment need to pay generous compensation to evacu-
ated settlers — about $400 million — the actual
process of evacuation will require substantial funds.
Police Inspector General Moshe Karadi met Sept. 5
with senior officers to assess the costs involved. It will
depend on the scope of resistance, both in Gaza and in
Israel proper. No one knows for sure how many people
will actively resist the evacuation, or over what period
of time.
Its assumed that large police forces will be kept busy
not only in the Gaza Strip but also within Israel, deal-
ing with demonstrations against the disengagement.
Police were planning to set up an "evacuation adminis-
tration."
The Border Police, which usually is deployed in the
territories to deal with the Palestinian population, has
been selected to evacuate the settlers. The Border Police
plans to reinforce its 12 companies with an additional
20 reserve companies, which will free up regular forces
to cope with the evacuation.
Sharon hopes to create sufficient motivation among
setders to evacuate their homes willingly in exchange
for generous compensation packages, avoiding violent
confrontations like those in Yamit. An interministerial
team is working out details of the compensation bill.
The general idea is to offer settlers a house in
exchange for a house; they also will be given the option
of relocating en masse to communities in Israel.
Government assessors were instructed to appraise the
houses according to equivalents in regions that are bet-
ter off than development towns, but not as upscale as
Tel Aviv.

D

A masked Palestinian Fatah member marches during a rally at Shati refugee camp in Gaza.

$400 Million Plan

The evacuation administration already has proposed
advance payments that would be deducted from final
compensation, but advances can't be handed out until
the complicated legal procedure behind them is final-
ized. The government will commit itself to paying out
the full value of compensation packages even if the dis-
engagement plan eventually collapses.
Settlers also will receive special compensation worth
six months' salary to find alternative employment.
Eran Sternberg, spokesman for the Gush Katif settle-
ment bloc, insisted in an interview that only a handful
of families have expressed interest in entering negotia-
tions on compensation. "We regard this entire talk on
compensation as psychological warfare," Sternberg said.
"Sharon in his desperation shoots in all directions.
The overarching imperative in preparing for the
evacuation is to avoid civil war. Policemen in the evac-
uation task force will undergo special psychological
seminars, preparing them for confrontation with their
"brothers."
When will all this take place? Sharon recently told
his Likud Party's Knesset faction that he did not intend
to "drag out the disengagement plan over a long period

"

of time." He has presented the following timetable for
the disengagement:
• By Sept. 14, the prime minister will present the
cabinet a blueprint for evacuation and compensation of
the settlers.
• By Sept. 26, a draft disengagement bill will be pre-
sented to the cabinet.
• By Oct. 24, the financial compensation bill will be
brought to the cabinet.
• On Nov. 3, the compensation bill — "The Law for
Implementing the Disengagement Plan" — will be
brought to the Knesset.
It's assumed that the actual evacuation would take
place no later than February.
After Likud voters rejected Sharon's disengagement
plan in a May 2 party referendum, and following the
impressive human chain protest of some 130,000
people in late July, settlers now are planning addi-
tional anti-disengagement campaigns, including a
massive protest in downtown Jerusalem.
"Over 3,000 children and youths began the school
year this week at our schools[ in Gaza]," Sternberg
said. "I'm sure we will all be there to open the next
school year." ❑

9/10
2004

55

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