After the government on Sunday approved the outline of the Takuma Administration's multi-year plan, in which NIS 18 billion will be transferred to the process of rehabilitating the communities near the Gaza Strip, mayors of the Gaza envelope expressed their anger on the issue, saying that there is nothing to talk about returning residents of the area to their homes until the security threat to them is removed.
During the cabinet meeting, which discussed approving the administration's decision, the heads of the local authorities in the envelope participated, including Alon Davidi, mayor of Sderot, who told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "Put the elimination of Hamas at the top of your list of priorities. The residents tell me that they want to return only when Hamas is eliminated and there will be no security threat to them, despite the great difficulty of being away from home and studying in alternative educational frameworks."
Davidi addressed the issue of finding the budgetary source for funding the programs, saying: "We expect you that the budget will be found and that there will not be a situation in which because of the Takuma administration, you will cancel government decisions regarding Sderot and the envelope that you approve every two years."
Mayor of Sderot Alon Davidi (Archive), photo: Yehuda Peretz
Sdot Negev Council head Tamir Idan also met with the government and called on its members to remove the threat to the communities in the envelope – and only then to promote the return of the residents to their homes: "It is inconceivable that they continue to talk about returning home, when the threat has not been removed and life here, in the shadow of the war, is not alive."
Idan also expressed concern that the budget would not be transferred, saying: "I ask that the government examine the source of the budget immediately, so that we will not wait in vain for a budget that does not arrive." He also demanded to ensure that the sum would satisfy all needs, and if it was found that this was not the case, he called for immediate action to increase it, "in order to meet the goals for the full rehabilitation of the region and the resilience of its residents."
Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, also participated in the discussion and attacked the agreement that was approved: "The proposed resolution that is presented is not adapted to the needs following the greatest disaster the State of Israel has ever known, and to the shared vision of a significant improvement in the quality of life in the region. Therefore, substantial changes are required in the decision, including the inclusion of all our communities in the rehabilitation plan of the Takuma Administration in a differential manner according to needs, while eliminating the imaginary dividing line of 7 kilometers; increase the budget to NIS 40 billion; And start its implementation within 30 days, not in 3 months as is currently proposed."
According to an announcement by the government and the Takuma Administration, the approved plan, which they said was formulated in cooperation with local authorities and regional communities, "will lead to the rehabilitation process of the envelope in the best possible manner alongside anchoring unique planning and execution mechanisms that enable 'green tracks.' Upon approval of the framework, the Administration will formulate a detailed multi-year plan in the long term, which will be published within 100 days and will incorporate a five-year plan for the rehabilitation and development of the region and anchoring the implementation mechanisms for the Secretariat and the authorities, with an emphasis on strengthening the ability and power of the authorities in the final planning. In addition, the Administration is working to promote a bill that will be circulated within 60 days and which will anchor, among other things, the uniqueness of the region."
Burnt house in Kibbutz Be'eri, photo: Micha Brickman
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