JERUSALEM - After much controversy, the defense establishment recommended Thursday against destroying settler homes following the Gaza pullout in July. Instead they recommended transferring the properties to the Palestinian Authority.
Internal Security Minister Gidon Ezra, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, Foreign Ministry and police officials and others held several hours of deliberations in the office of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.
The group also decided that synagogues, cemeteries
and IDF bases would be relocated over the green line.
The plan is set to be tabled for discussion by the cabinet next month, following the Pesach (Passover) break in May.
No recommendations were made at this time vis-à-vis evacuated houses in the northern West Bank.
Sharon reconsiders the issue
The decision was made after Mofaz presented a long string of legal and economic arguments in favor of leaving the structures in tact.
Ynet has learned that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been considering the issue of settler homes since February, but has yet to make a final decision
on the matter due to ideas raised over the past weeks.
The government originally decided that the settlers' homes would be destroyed, however some government ministers have recently called on the cabinet to reconsider.
Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Ynet earlier
that he believed the houses would not be destroyed following the pullout.
In addition, a committee consisting of government, army and public officials issued its stance in January, saying that from all points of view—legal, economic, operational and environmental—the houses should remain in tact.