The 2005 evacuation of the Gaza Strip settlers was performed without proper planning. Israel’s failure to absorb the settlers suitably led many to the general conclusion that Israel is not capable of properly evacuating settlers; in light of the fact that Israel failed in evacuating 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip, how would it succeed in evacuating 100,000 from the West Bank?
BWF claims that this failure resulted from inadequate planning efforts made by the government at the time, which was manifested in the absence of sufficient housing and employment solutions for the evacuated communities.
BWF has conducted a planning research in order to support the public with figures regarding the inventory of residencies suitable to the settlers.
Our research focused on the system’s current readiness. Analysis of the findings led to concrete recommendations with regards to the optimization of the relocation process to all parties involved in it.
The research was guided by the assumption that 25,000 families will be in need of residency solutions. The researchers were instructed to search for 100,000 residencies in suitable areas. BWF has chosen a number 4 times higher than the expected demand in order to allow the settlers to choose a place of residence, and because this inventory is dynamic and available to all citizens of Israel.
All suggested solutions were in municipalities located between Haifa in the north and Be’er Sheva in the south, with accessibility to transportation. No solutions were suggested in the Tel Aviv area (due to expected costs). Settlers who would choose to relocate to the Negev and the Galilee regions will be able to receive solutions further to those mentioned in the research.
The findings of the research show that the current amount of available housing in the selected local authorities exceed our aggressive target and is therefore expected to be more than sufficient, even after elimination some areas due to some economic, social and planning issues. This is still the case if we consider that 40,000 residencies reflect the regular annual demand.
However, the findings emphasize the need to allocate national resources to the realization of the inventory of potential residencies, i.e. removal of administrative barriers in the permitting processes. Removing of these barriers will increase the number of residencies across Israel.
- The research was conducted by Urbanix – Planning, Economy and Environment Ltd.
- Planning Counsel – Yehonatan Golani (Arc.), former head planner in the Ministry of Construction and Housing.
- Professional and academic guidance – Prof. Hillel Shocken of Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Eran Rezin of the Hebrew University. Leader of the research on behalf of BWF – architect Haimi Shneider.