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February 20, 2014

In Blog


Israel mulling compensation for West Bank settlers willing to move

Under the bill, settlers could give up their homes for alternative housing inside the Green Line. The proposal, authored by a Meretz MK, has little chance of passing.

By Jonathan Lis | Feb. 20, 2014 | 3:26 PM
Elon Moreh

The settlement of Elon Moreh, with the city of Nablus in the background. Photo by AP

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will discuss Sunday a draft bill arranging “evacuation-compensation” procedures for settlers who want to leave the West Bank and move inside the internationally recognized borders of Israel.

According to the proposal, settlers living beyond the route of the separation barrier will be entitled to alternative housing inside the State of Israel, with the government receiving possession of the evacuated houses without making use of them.

The man behind the proposal is MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz). There are settlers, he says, who have already expressed interest in its implementation. “The step actually enjoys support beyond the Green Line,” said Gilon. “The draft bill mandates full compensation for those who have sobered up from the illusion of the settlements, but cannot return to the borders of the Green Line for financial reasons. Voluntary evacuation will save billions in the foreseeable future. The time has come to release the settlers from the territories and the territories from the settlements.”

The bill is not expected to pass, but it would raise very relevant discussions on the issue. Meretz, a left-wing Zionist party which has long been a supporter of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is not in the ruling coalition of Benjamin Netanyahu, while parties which support the growth of the settlements are.

Accompanying the bill is the following explanation: “The assumption is that the route of the separation barrier leaves settlements outside the fence or intolerably close to it. As a result, life in those settlements becomes intolerable in terms of personal security. Those who want to leave voluntarily cannot do so, since the home in their possession has no real value at present.”

Nine years ago, in February 2005, the Knesset passed the law for implementing the disengagement plan, which at the time was dubbed the “evacuation-compensation law.”