Thursday, October 22, 2009

PMO gets high marks on Gaza evacuees

(Jpost).Speakers at a meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee on Wednesday gave high marks to the Prime Minister's Office for its actions over the past few weeks to help solve the problems of the Gush Katif evacuees.

Committee chairman Yoel Hasson convened the meeting to keep an eye on the government's implementation of recommendations included in an interim report published September 29 by the State Commission of Inquiry into the Handling by the Authorities of the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria.

The commission set deadlines for the government to achieve key goals. In one case, for example, four groups of settlers who want to live together are still unable to reach agreement with the villages to which they want to move. The commission has given the government until December 31 to resolve the problems.

Although various ministries are responsible for different aspects of the resettlement program, the Prime Minister's Office has overall responsibility for coordinating the work of the ministries and resolving disagreements among them.

During the meeting, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said that "there has been a dramatic change in the Prime Minister's Office. The ministry director-general has held many meetings, and it has not been all talk."

Benzion Lieberman, who took over on Sunday as head of the Sela Administration for Assistance to Settlers from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, told the committee that he was convinced "the Prime Minister's Office intends to treat the resettlement as a national project. The director-general of the Prime Minister's Office has set aside a great deal of his time for meetings on this matter."