Expanded pullout budget approved (JERUSALEM POST) By NINA GILBERT, DAN IZENBERG AND TOVAH LAZAROFF 05/26/05)
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The Knesset Defense Budget Committee approved some NIS 220 million in
funding on Thursday for 230 high-quality temporary homes that are to
be constructed for Gaza Strip settlers evacuated to Nitzan.
The expense, which was not budgeted in the Disengagement
Implementation Law, is to be covered from NIS 66m. from the general
budget reserve and the rest from the Defense Ministry budget. The
Treasury has committed to replenishing the ministry funds, the
committee said in a statement.
Disengagement Authority head Yonathan Bassi attacked the temporary
home spending in a rare interview on Israel Radio. He said "it was a
mistake" and that it had been reached due to pressure that had been
exerted on the government.
Bassi said that the state was willing to pay two years of rent until
the construction of the permanent housing solutions was completed.
At the budget meeting, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) asked IDF
officials if there would be a possibility that male soldiers would
evacuate female settlers. The officials confirmed that such a
situation could arise.
IDF officials also said that not all synagogues could be moved out of
the Gaza Strip and some would have to be destroyed. Ariel criticized
the government on the issue, saying that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
had pledged that all synagogues would transferred out of Gaza.
Ariel said the meeting had proved that that the government was "not
ready for disengagement and it should not be the IDF´s
responsibility." He said there was also no promise that the IDF would
not break the Sabbath during evacuation.
According to Ariel, the IDF was also transferring NIS 150m. from the
security fence to cover disengagement costs. He also said that the
Israel Police does not have funding for disengagement.
Also on Thursday, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel rejected
Thursday media reports that some 1,000 Gaza residents were willing to
relocate as long it was to permanent housing. "They refuse to be
uprooted at all," said Legal Forum Attorney Yossi Fuchs, explaining
that his group represents the majority of the settlers. Their demand
is to move as a group should the police and the IDF uproot them from
their homes this summer.
In court on Thursday, the forum rejected the state´s response to its
demand for an interim injunction. The forum again asked the High
Court of Justice to stop the government from imposing a timetable on
the settlers, forcing them to decide whether they want to move to
Nitzanim after their evacuation from the Gaza Strip without first
presenting them with a detailed plan.
Attorney Yitzhak Meron wrote to the High Court that the settlers
should not be forced to consider a relocation plan until the
government works out the plan in all its details.
"One cannot ask a person to decide whether he is interested in a
certain plan or solution if he does not come and present the solution
in all of its aspects," wrote Meron.
"In this case, no one has come to the settlers and presented the plan
for a ´refugee camp´ or ´trailer site.´" Meron submitted the original
request for an interim injunction on May 19, one day after Justice
Minister Tzipi Livni said in a press conference that the settlers had
one week to decide whether they wanted to move en bloc from their
homes in the Gaza Strip to the Nitzanim area.
Livni has already explained that she did not intend to impose a
deadline on a permanent solution, but rather was referring to the
group option for temporary homes. (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post
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