An unknown future for Israeli refugees from the border areas

Capture of Jerusalem- Many Israeli families who were evacuated from settlements and “kibbutzim of the Gaza envelope” and the Western Negev with the beginning of the “al-Aqsa flood” fighting have expressed a desire not to return to the “covered areas”. Ongoing fighting and the Israeli military's failure to “eliminate the Hamas movement”.

Following the surprise attack launched by the Islamic resistance movement “Hamas” on October 7, 2023, the Israeli government took a quick decision to evacuate all residents of 25 kibbutzim and settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

According to the decision taken in accordance with emergency regulations, the area located from 0 to 7 kilometers from the borders of the Gaza Strip was evacuated, and the number of evacuated people reached 65 thousand people, and another 60 thousand people were evacuated to the border. Removed from. Lebanese towns in the Upper Galilee due to mutual bombardment between Israeli forces and Hezbollah.

In addition to these official figures accepted by the Israeli Security Ministry, thousands of residents of the Western Negev, Sderot and Ashkelon were displaced on their own initiative and without instructions from the Home Front requiring them to do so, as the enclaves The population of this nearby area is more than 200 thousand.

Withdrawal and removal costs

In previous years, it was assumed that in the event of a state of emergency being imposed if war broke out, the Israeli government would create a special system to evacuate tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of Israelis from border areas.

In fact, a government plan had been prepared and millions of shekels had been spent on it, but it was shelved. Gad Lior, economic affairs correspondent for the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, says: “When the moment of truth came, it became clear that the plan, known as the 'Civil Hotel', was no longer tailored to the needs and completely It was demolished.”

Lior says: “The evacuation of thousands of residents was carried out not in public institutions, community centers and schools as planned, but in hundreds of hotels and residences, and the original plan was canceled once, and that's how things went wrong Till today.”

The reporter reported that a family of six living in a hotel room cost about 45,000 shekels ($12,000) per month, while a family with two children received an allowance of 18,000 shekels ($4,800) per month if they did not stay. Were staying. in a hotel. ,

According to data from the Israeli Tourism Ministry, there are about 56,000 hotel rooms in Israel, and about 40,000 of them are located in areas far from war zones, and residents have been evacuated there, as major hotel companies expect their business results. Is doing. There will be loss from war.

It is difficult to predict what is happening, as hotel owners do not know how long displaced people from the “Gaza envelope” and border areas in the Upper Galilee will stay in hotels, the Israeli Tourism Ministry said in a brief statement. was that “there are displaced people who have been allocated places for temporary residence because their homes exist.” “But it is unclear how long they will actually stay in hotels, and there are people whose homes have been destroyed and are looking for permanent residence solutions.”

repatriation plan

While government ministries are busy planning to return displaced people to their homes, the ministries have so far avoided answering the question of what they will do with those who do not want to return to the covered areas and the Western Negev .

To implement the “withdrawal plan”, the Israeli government established the “Tacoma” district and allocated it for the reconstruction of the “Gaza envelope”, allocating to it a budget of 18 billion shekels ($5 billion) for a period . 5 years, and made it his mission to pave the way for the return of the displaced people.

According to preliminary data documented by the economic newspaper “De Marker”, and based on conversations with local communities in the south, about 20% of Israeli families, especially those with young children, have been evacuated since 7 of last October . It was decided not to return to the “covered areas” and to look for alternative accommodation in other cities away from the war zones.

fear of the future

Merav Arlozorov, economic affairs analyst for De Marker newspaper, believes there is a desire among adults and youth to return, while families with children believe they have no interest in returning and are looking for stability in alternative areas. Are searching.

Arlozorov explained, “In light of the continuing fighting, the strengthening of the Israelis' conviction about the military's failure to overthrow the Hamas regime and eliminate its military arsenal, and a clear commitment to return displaced people.” In the absence of a government plan to rebuild the enclave, even families who express a desire to return are finding it difficult to adapt to the situation, especially “as time goes on, it will become more difficult.” And it becomes unclear.”

The economic affairs analyst drew a comparison between the Israeli governments' behavior with expelling settlers from the “Gush Katif” settlement group in Gaza and the Sinai, and the current government's behavior with expelling Israeli families from the “Gaza envelope”. Stating that “the present government is not dependent on benefits, money payments and compensation.” To inspire you to return to the cover.

In 2007, the cost of destroying the settlement complex in Gaza was more than 10 billion shekels ($2.7 billion), of which 6.5 billion shekels was allocated as civilian costs for evacuating the 1,800 settler families living there. Which means even more that more than half of the costs went directly into the pockets of the settlers.

Arlozorov says: “Each family evacuated from Gush Katif during the disengagement received an average of 2 million shekels ($550,000), believing that the government would continue to support the settlement project and show generosity towards those evacuated. is obliged,” and she adds: “But the Israeli government, in the light of the war on Gaza, is afraid to show excessive leniency toward those expelled from the South and Upper Galilee, and avoids setting policy toward those families “Who would not like to return to their homes in the kibbutzim.”

Arlozorov says: “Unlike the evacuation of Sinai or Gush Katif, where settlers had no place to return, today displaced people from the Gaza envelope and border settlements with Lebanon have a place to return, and the state. The country's highest interest lies in the return of residents to their homes in border areas, as not returning “would appear as a defeat.”

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