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Wranglings persist over draft of pullout bill (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Zvi Zrahiya 02/03/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/535435.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 Haim Oron.

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 compensation.

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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