Committee head Haim Ramon
Photo: Niv Calderon
Livni says Olmert should decide
Photo: AFP
Lieberman, wants to delay evacuation
Photo: Vadim Daniel
Ramon: Evacuation of illegal outposts won't be delayed
Ministers Livni, Lieberman argue over committee on outposts' authority to decide on evacuation of settlements. Committee head Ramon sides with foreign minister, saying IDF chief of staff, defense minister to make such decisions

An argument broke out between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman at Sunday's meeting of the ministerial committee responsible for illegal outposts over which body has the authority to order the evacuation of such outposts.


At the start of the meeting, Livni demanded it be determined that the committee did not have the authority to order delays in the evacuation of illegal outposts. According to the foreign minister, the prime minister and defense minister should be the only ones authorized in this matter.


Lieberman, on the other hand, claimed that it was the committee's job to set the criteria according to which outposts would be evacuated.


Lieberman, who is a resident of a settlement near Bethlehem, wishes to postpone evacuation as long as possible.


Committee head and Vice Premier Haim Ramon said, "The committee will not delay the evacuation of 26 illegal outposts that were constructed in 2001 during former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's tenure.


"This has nothing to do with the committee's work, but with Sharon's commitment. Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Barak, and IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi can set the evacuation dates as they please. They must decide when to clear them (the outposts) without having to wait for the committee's work," he said.


"The committee's main job is to set the procedures for construction in the West Bank in the future. This is after 40 years of having no such procedures.


"This has nothing to do with decisions made regarding the illegal outposts in the past," he said.


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