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Government Will Offer Gush Squatters Choice of Settlement Area This Week

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The government will begin negotiations with the Gush Emunim this week over an alternative settlement site for the 150 squatters now encamped at Kadum in Samaria. The Gush insist on remaining in “the heart of Samaria.” The government is expected to offer them settlement opportunities on the eastern ridge of the Samarian highlands overlooking the Jordan Valley or on the extreme western edge close to the pre-June, 1967 lines. This would be in accordance with the so-called Allon Plan for the West Bank which, though never formally adopted by the Cabinet, has constituted a guide for the government’s settlement policies.

The Cabinet decided on May 9 that the Gush squatters must leave Kadum. If they reject an alternate settlement site, they will be removed by force if necessary according to the decision. The government will be represented at this week’s negotiations by Minister-Without-Portfolio Israel Galili, chairman of the ministerial settlement committee. Political observers expect that National Religious Party Minister Zevulun Hammer and MK Yehuda Ben Meir of the NRP’s “young guard” will act as go-betweens with the Gush leadership, at least during initial contacts.

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