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Settlers keep up the fight over Nitzanim dunes housing plan (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Nir Hasson 05/05/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/572492.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Settler leaders decided yesterday to continue negotiating with the government over the plan to relocate evacuees to the Nitzanim dunes near Ashdod, following a number of particularly stormy meetings in Gush Katif.

They also decided they will not make the settlers sign forms saying they are interested in the plan, as the state is demanding so that it can move ahead with the planning process. One group of dissident settlers, however, decided it would try and sign the evacuees on the forms.

The settlers´ main problem with the Nitzanim plan as presented to them by government representatives during Monday´s meeting is the "double evacuation."

Under the government´s plan, the evacuees will be moved into caravans in eight different areas - three large groups of religious settlers and five smaller groups of secular settlers. They will live in these areas until the planning and construction of the new communities in Nitzanim is completed.

Government officials said planning work will be completed within about a year, and then the building can begin.

Gush Katif settlers, however, feel this is an optimistic estimate and that it will be at least three years before they can move into their new homes.

"If we´re going to be scattered about in eight different places for such a long time, there is no point to this plan. The whole idea was to keep the local council and the institutions," said Sarita Maoz, the head of the Elei Sinai secretariat.

The state wants the settlers to present it with signatures of hundreds of settlers who are interested in being part of the Nitzanim plan so that it can then begin the process of approving the plan when the National Planning Council meets on Tuesday.

The settlers are refusing to do this, claiming it is a degrading process. "A signature is an admission that the battle is over - we will never agree to this," said Yehuda Bashri, the secretary of the forum of settler mayors. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 05/05/05)

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