JERUSALEM (Jan. 31)
The evacuation of Israeli forces from Sinai and their redeployment in the Negev will cost IL 90 billion, according to Defense Ministry estimates, Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Zipori told the Knesset Economics Committee yesterday. More than half the cost, some IL 50 billion, will represent the United States contribution to the redeployment budget, he said.
The Israeli evacuation of Sinai will take place only if a peace treaty is signed with Egypt. Some initial preparatory work has begun. The project will include the construction of rood networks in the Negev, the laying of water pipelines, electric cables and communications systems and the construction of new airfields to replace the air bases in Sinai that Israel will relinquish. The entire operation is expected to take three years. Zipori told the committee that a special authority may be established to oversee the transfer.