About half the farmers in the Gaza Strip Gush Katif settlement have reached tentative agreements with the Israeli government Disengagement Administration (Sela) to receive alternative agricultural lands inside Israel.

60 out of the 166 active farmers in the Gaza settlements will receive 1,600 dunams of land from Kibbutz Zikim. 20 more will receive 500 dunams near Moshav Mavki’im.

Sela officials confirmed the deal, but said it was not final as it could be torpedoed at the last minute, particularly by legal problems.

‘The state is in advanced negotiations with groups of farmers, but there is still no deal,’ a Sela official cautioned.

Sela is also currently negotiating with a third group, comprised mainly of organic farmers, for which it has located a 700-dunam tract.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced on Wednesday that only those settlers who have already signed up for a plan to move en masse from Gush Katif settlement to Nitzanim will be able to live in caravans in nearby Nitzan while their permanent houses are being built.

Settlers will still be able to join the Nitzanim scheme, but they will have to seek temporary housing elsewhere.