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Riskin: Peres Meeting `encouraging’

Prime Minister Shimon Peres met this week with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, following through on his pledge to improve dialogue with Jewish settlers.

Riskin, who led a series of settler demonstrations during the summer, called the meeting an encouraging sign.

“I must say that until now, the prime minister has said the right things,” he told Israel Radio. “We hope he will do the right things.”

Riskin is a former New York rabbi who lives in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, where during the summer settlers tried to establish new neighborhoods on nearby hilltops they said were part of land set aside for Jewish settlements.

Local Palestinians also claimed ownership of the lands.

When asked whether he thought that similar demonstrations would take place as implementation of the accord for extending West Bank autonomy continues, Riskin said settler had reached the conclusion that the accord is a “reality.”

“Now we have to make sure that the prime minister is doing everything possible to make sure we are comfortably,” he added, referring to security arrangements that are scheduled to be put in place for the settlers after a planned Israeli troop redeployment from six West Bank towns.

The redeployment is slated to be completed before the end of the year.

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