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Settlers Coordinate Efforts

In preparation for Israel’s national elections this year, activists from Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights have decided to coordinate efforts to campaign against government policy.

The decision comes as Israel and the Palestinians prepare to enter negotiations that include determining the future of Jewish settlers living in the West Bank and Gaza.

It also comes as Israel and Syria resume talks aimed at achieving a peace accord that may involve an Israeli withdrawal on the Golan Heights.

The decision was among those made by settlements leaders who met this week in the West Bank settlement of Ariel to discuss their strategy for the upcoming elections.

Yehiel Leiter of the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza said the cooperative efforts was not new.

“We’ve been cooperating for 3 1/2 years, in most cases in nonpublic ways,” he told Israel Radio.

“Because of the upcoming elections,” he added, “we’ve been discussing ways of working together, [to ensure] that we don’t go to elections with a fractious front.”

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