Israel plans villages for Gaza evacuees

Israel plans to move some of the settlers it evacuated from the Gaza Strip to a new cluster of southern villages.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office announced Tuesday that the government had approved the creation of seven agricultural communities in the Lachish district. Around 1,000 of the 8,000 settlers uprooted from Gaza in 2005 have voiced interest in moving to the new villages, Olmert’s office said.

“If developing a new community in Israel is genuinely exciting, how much more so the development of seven communities that will turn a thinly settled region into a genuine national and tourist treasure,” Olmert was quoted as saying. 

“This region has great potential and we are interested in it becoming one of Zionism’s major developments in the 21st century.”

Construction on the new communities is to begin forthwith. Olmert’s office did not say when the project was slated for completion.

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