Settlers of the Kfar Darom settlement in the Gaza Strip turned away the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office Ilan Cohen as he was planning to visit the settlement for talks with the settlers there, Israeli sources reported on Wednesday.
Apparently, settlers were not enthused to speak with the government representative. As Cohen approached the entrance, residents blocked the gates leading into the settlement, forcing him to give up on his visit.
Cohen visited the Gush Katif settlement bloc Wednesday morning to meet with settlement leaders and to view factories and industrial infrastructure in the area slated for evacuation, the source said.
Pushing to get more settlers to sign up for the Nitzanim relocation plan, Cohen was hoping to convince the settlers that the government was serious about their offer to relocate Gaza settlers en masse.
The Justice Minister allowed seven days for the settlers to sign up for the Nitzanim plan. Wednesday was the last day to sign up.
However, settlers had petitioned the court for an interim injunction against on Livni’s seven-day time-frame.
Frustrated with the non-cooperation of settlers, Cohen blamed the leaders for creating "confusion," which prevented dialogue about the "day after."
In a report to the Knesset Finance Committee Monday, Cohen said settlers could not make decisions about their future because of the "politically motivated" actions of their leadership.
Cohen charged the settlers leaders with inciting residents against talks with the government over the disengagement. He said settler leaders created an illusion that a miracle could happen and disengagement would not be there, so they do not have to bother planning for the aftermath of the evacuation.
Only 99 families have submitted claims so far, 69 of them northern West Bank residents, according to Disengagement Authority head Yonatan Bassi. Some 1,500 families live in Gaza and another 200 in the four northern West Bank settlements.
According to the same source, as of last week 426 Gaza settlers had informed the government that they would be willing to relocate to the Nitzan and north Ashkelon area.