SETTLERS COUNCIL VOWS TO BLOCK ANY FURTHER SETTLEMENT EVACUATION

Mainstream Jewish settler leaders are intent on opposing the dismantling of even a single settlement in the context of a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, The Jerusalem Report has learned. And they are convinced that Prime Minister Ehud Barak will not be able to carry out any deal that entails the removal of settlements – because the public won’t support him, and his government will fall.

Shlomo Filber, director general of the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Settlers Council, told The Report that Barak would be deluding himself if he thought settler leaders would agree to any evacuation just because they had agreed in October and November to remove 12 illegal outposts. “If Barak insists on dismantling any settlement,” Filber warned, “the entire settler movement will resist, just like the kids did at the Havat Ma’on outpost” (see picture caption).

Filber denied that, as part of that agreement on the outposts with Barak, the settler leaders made or received any promises with regard to final status. But he made clear that the settlers council flatly opposes Barak’s final-status blueprint – which envisages two or three large blocs of settlement, with some 50 outlying settlements having to move into them.

“If Barak tries to carry out his plan,” Filber warns, “you will have to multiply what happened at Havat Ma’on by a factor of 5,000. Barak will have to drag people forcibly from their homes, and you can’t do that with 50,000 men, women and children. The Israeli people won’t stand for it. After the first or second – at worst the third settlement, Barak’s government will fall. And he knows that.”

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