Israel’s “Forgotten” Settlers

The Jerusalem Gold Hotel is home to some 42 families who do not want to be there. They are the former residents of the Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim, forced out of their homes under Israel’s disengagement plan, bussed to Jerusalem and resettled in accommodation meant for tourists and transients. For those former settlers who did not have housing solutions of their own (the vast majority of the 8,500 evicted from Gaza), the government rented more than 2,000 hotel rooms meant as a temporary measure for just days. But the days have turned to weeks and the weeks to months, and, for some, there is no end in sight.

Moshe Saperstein, 65, lost an arm and an eye in the 1973 Middle East war, and was badly wounded again in an attack by Palestinian militants in 2002. But he says he considers himself one of the lucky ones. As a disabled war veteran he receives a monthly pension from the government, while friends who were farmers and fishermen lost their livelihoods when the pull-out occurred.

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