The city of Sderot is located near the Gaza Strip, 2.79 km from the border, and was evacuated along with all the residents of the envelope in October 2023, following the massacre carried out by Hamas in which 50 people were murdered in Sderot. Despite this, Sderot was excluded from the return plan set in relation to the other communities near the Gaza Strip. While the state is expected to extend the assistance to residents evacuated from other communities located 0-4 km from the border until at least the end of the school year, for Sderot residents, it has been determined that the assistance will stop at the end of February 2024. The cessation of funding for the evacuees means that most of them will be forced to return to a city that is not prepared for their return. After all the upheavals they have undergone, they will be forced to remove their children from educational institutions, stop medical treatment and give up sources of employment – all while the security situation in the region is unclear.
On February 6, 2024, we sent legal correspondence (Hebrew) to the Attorney General on behalf of the residents of the city of Sderot who are members of the civil organization "Another Reality for Sderot." We asked that the Attorney General instruct the government to extend the residence arrangements for residents of Sderot who are evacuated, and who are interested in doing so, like other residents of communities 0-4 km from the Gaza Strip border. In our correspondence, Attorney Mascot Bendel discussed the severe violation of the rights of residents of the city, specifically the right to education, the right to health and equality, and the difficulties involved in returning to the city after such trauma. We sought to extend the existing funding arrangements for the evacuees until at least the end of the current school year, to give the evacuees sufficient notice when they return to the city, to ensure that the security conditions for their return have been met, and to ensure that all the services required for living in the city will operate fully, as a condition for returning to the city.