Tuesday, January 24, 2006

 

Disengagement victims still suffering

It's not over, not by a long shot. Read this from Arutz 7:


Expelled Families Continue to Suffer
16:44 Jan 24, '06 / 24 Tevet 5766By Hillel Fendel

Gush Katif families still waiting for temporary housing, five months after their expulsion, say that their harrowing tales of continuing Disengagement Authority harassment just don't stop.
Close to 100 families from N'vei Dekalim are still housed in Jerusalem hotels, more than five months after their expulsion. They are waiting for the government to complete their promised temporary housing in Nitzan, Ein Tzurim or elsewhere.

While they wait, the Disengagement Authority continues to make it difficult for some of them to receive their compensation monies, as the following stories show.

The family of Yigal and Tziporah Kirshenzaft, now with 12 children, was one of the first to live in the Gush Katif capital of N'vei Dekalim, having moved in over 22 years ago. They are still housed in the Ceasar Hotel in Jerusalem. Yigal says, "I received a letter in November saying I wasn't eligible for any compensation.

After this was publicized, I was assured that everything would be OK and that I would receive a letter of apology. I have not yet received an apology - or anything else. I don't know what the delay is; they threw us out of our house, and legislated a law saying that we are to get compensation - so what's the problem? They know how long I lived there, they know how many children I have, let them deposit the money in my bank! What do they need me to fill out forms and produce buried papers for? They have all the information at their fingertips!"

"The truth is," he then said, "that if they would start acting like human beings, I would fill out their forms."In response to Arutz-7's request to elaborate, Kirshenzaft said, "For instance, I have a friend who lived next door to me for 22 years, Meir C. For some reason, they decided to compensate him only from 1999, and not from 1983. They further decided to calculate his compensation as if he had a 67-square-meter house, instead of the 167 meters that he had. He says he paid property tax on 167 meters, and all the papers are there.

Why should they treat him this way?" Meir and family are still housed in the Jerusalem Gold Hotel in the capital, waiting, together with dozens of other families, for the government to complete the construction of their pre-fab structures in Ein Tzurim."

Or take the case of a single mother of a large family," Kirshenzaft continued. "She was divorced eight years ago, and is waiting for a caravila [pre-fab temporary home] in Nitzan. They are holding up her full compensation and recognition as a single-mother because they say, 'How do we know that your husband won't return and live with you?'

"In yet another case, the M. family, formerly of N'vei Dekalim, has received a letter from the Disengagement Authority saying that it was required to move out of the Gold Hotel immediately - or else have the hotel costs deducted from their future compensation funds.

The family's hotel neighbor, Rachel Saperstein, formerly of N'vei Dekalim, says that Mr. M. would love nothing more than to be able to do so - as soon as the heating/air conditioning system that was stolen is restored.

"Even without the heart condition that he has," Mrs. Saperstein said, "the winter is freezing, and the walls of the caravila are very thin, and a heater is a basic necessity. He wants to move to Nitzan, and asks only that they return his heater - but he gets nothing, except for nasty threatening letters."The Sapersteins have their own torturous story.

They were informed recently that because they rented their Gush Katif home for the past eight years from the local municipality association, and not from a public company such as Amidar, they are not entitled to any compensation. "We had a meeting today with some Disengagement Authority people," Mrs. Saperstein said, "and our lawyer, Yisrael Fuchs from the Land of Israel Forum, showed them that the law says that if someone rents from the municipality, which itself rents from Amidar, then it's as if it's rented from Amidar directly. They seemed to have nothing to say to this, but it looks like now they're putting up another obstacle: They say I have to prove that I rented from the association. I don't have all the papers, but I was able to produce my salary slip from the Ministry of Education which recognized my rent as a certain deduction - proving that the government recognized my rent. But this wasn't enough for them.

So the story just goes on and on and on..."Asked when her pre-fab house is expected to be ready, Mrs. Saperstein said, "That's another whole story in itself. There is a dangerous pipe sticking up outside the entrance, in addition to other problems, and though they have known about it for a long while, nothing has been done. The Disengagement Authority woman who showed us the house originally said that it's not a problem and that we could move in immediately - but when she herself proceeded to trip over it, she changed her mind. The problem is that the Disengagement Authority says that the pipe is in the purview of the Defense Ministry..."

As an aside, Mrs. Saperstein noted that though it is well-known that rent for the temporary caravilas in Nitzan is $450 a month, many do not realize that this is in addition to monthly property taxes of 2,000 shekels - another $430. This sum is to be deducted from the compensation the families are to receive.

"But we try to keep on smiling," Mrs. Saperstein said. "And we deserve a Mazal Tov - our daughter had twin daughters yesterday!"

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