Wranglings persist over draft of pullout bill (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Zvi Zrahiya 02/03/05)
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The Knesset Finance Committee is expected to postpone today´s vote on
the proposed Evacuation Compensation Law until next week. The law
currently lacks a majority in favor and the debate is continuing over
changes to the draft.
Should the vote take place in the committee early next week, the
draft law will go to the plenum directly for its second and third
readings at the end of the same week.
Labor MK Avraham Shochat, who is leading the committee´s discussions,
met yesterday with representatives of the government, including the
director general of the Prime Minister´s Office, Ilana Cohen, to try
and tie up the loose ends.
Committee chair Yaakov Litzman - who supports the draft law - is
currently sitting shiva (the seven-day mourning period) over his
mother´s death and will not be back until the middle of next week,
and no other member of his United Torah Judaism faction is prepared
to fill in for him.
At present eight other MKs would vote in favor of the law - Likud MKs
Ruhama Avraham and Eli Aflalo, Labor MKs Shochat, Danny Yatom and
Yuli Tamir, Shinui MKs Ronnie Brizon and Ehud Ratzabi and Yahad MK
Ten are opposed - Daniel Benlulu, Yehiel Hazan, Haim Katz, Michael
Gorlovsky and Ayoub Kara (all of the Likud), Shas MKs Yitzhak Cohen
and Nissim Dahan, Nissan Slomiansky of the National Religious Party,
Benny Elon of National Unity and Mohammed Barakeh of Hadash.
Until now senior Likud members were under the impression that Benlulu
would vote in favor of the draft, but yesterday he announced he would
oppose it both in the committee and the plenum.
It is thought likely that the government will be prepared to increase
the compensation payments to the settlers who are evacuated by some
NIS 1 billion. Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit, who is in
charge of the law on behalf of the government, is trying to make
changes in six central paragraphs of the law.
One of these is to promote Ashkelon as a development area on a par
with the Galilee and Negev, which means that settlers who move there
would be entitled to a special grant of $30,000, over and beyond the
Sheetrit has appealed to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to support this
following requests from settlers facing evacuation who say they
cannot afford the high prices of housing in Ashkelon. (© Copyright
2005 Haaretz. 02/03/05)
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