Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Are We "In" or Are We Out?

The Jerusalem Post reports:-

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plans for the division of the West Bank involve the dismantling and relocation of 20 to 30 settlements, and not the previously assumed evacuation of the vast majority of the settlements on the far side of the security barrier, the prime minister's adviser for settlements, Uzi Keren, has told The Jerusalem Post...

...For example, Keren said he did not envisage "the Beit El group" of settlements north of Jerusalem being relinquished. Asked whether this "Beit El group" included settlements further north such as Ofra and even Shilo, he said he did not see them being given up and that "there's room to maneuver."

By contrast, more isolated settlements such as Har Bracha, south of Nablus, would be "replicated" - required to relocate to within an existing settlement bloc or to sovereign Israel. From Har Bracha eastward to Karnei Shomron, which is inside a settlement bloc that is set to be retained, for instance, was a distance of only seven kilometers, he noted...

...The comments by Keren - whose role as prime ministerial adviser on settlement affairs involves a responsibility for Israeli population settlement in the Negev, Galilee and rest of the "periphery" as well as beyond the Green Line - confirm a report in last Friday's Post which quoted sources in Kadima branding the 70,000 figure an exaggeration.

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