This bill, which would allow West Bank residents to receive compensation for relocating within Green Line boundaries, was first conceived by left-wing activists as well as Labor party members prior to the parliamentary elections. MK Avshalom Vilan of the Meretz party and MK Ami Ayalon of the Labor party were among the bill’s originators.
West Bank settlement of Itamar (Photo: AP)
Barak’s statements Sunday, however, served as the first indication that the Labor Party intends to propose this bill to parliament in the very near future.
Senior members in Barak’s office stated that this bill is a true conceptual revolution that would allow Israel to readily evacuate West Bank settlements if and when a peace treaty is signed with the Palestinians. Furthermore, it might minimize conflict if and when settlements are evacuated, and aid settlers who are eager to leave west Bank settlements and are merely awaiting official government word on the matter.
Barak staffers also pointed out, however, that this would be a long and arduous process, contingent upon Israel’s reaching an accord with its Palestinian partners in line with the Annapolis peace summit and the Road Map proposal.
'Government must act against illegal settlements'
The “compensation for evacuation” bill was originated with the “Bayit Echad” (“Only Home") Movement, founded by Vilan, former Israeli Consul General to New York Alon Pinkas, MK Colette Avital, Retired Major-General Alik Ron, and Former Defense Minister Dalia Rabin.
Barak also addressed the pressing issue of illegal settlements at the cabinet meeting. “We are currently negotiating with these settlers and will attempt to reach some sort of compromise. In a law abiding country, however, the government must not only institute and abide by the law, but also assure that it is being enforced,” said Barak.
The defense minister also informed the cabinet that the IDF had killed 22 Hamas activists in the Gaza strip during the past week, and that he had authorized further attacks on Hamas-based targets in Gaza, including populated buildings.