One-third of Gaza evacuees still unemployed

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Nearly two years after they were forcibly uprooted from thriving communities, one-third of the Jewish evacuees from the Gaza Strip are still unemployed.

Ripped from their homes as part of former prime minister Ariel Sharon's “disengagement” plan, these “settlers” left behind businesses and farms that were among the most successful and productive in Israel.

The government promised to help rebuild what had been lost, but few of the Jews who once called Gaza home have today recovered financially or socially.

According to Israel's Ma'ariv daily newspaper, 500 of the evacuated families - 37 percent of those uprooted - still rely on aid from charitable organizations to feed themselves. Many more live in a state of constant depression after their tight-knit communities were torn asunder.

Nor has the situation harmed only the evacuees.

Gaza's Jewish communities once provided a highly disproportionate percentage of Israel's agricultural produce. But of the 400 farms and other agricultural businesses that once operated in Gaza's Katif Bloc, only 33 have been compensated with land inside Israel. Some warn that the situation has hastened the day that Israel will be dependent on foreign food imports.

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