Settlers unmoved by relocation offer


Most Israeli settlers living east of the West Bank security fence do not want to relocate, a poll found.

Left-wing Israeli lawmakers this week tabled legislation that would offer residents of 18 settlements located east of the fence compensation if they moved voluntarily, but a Ma’ariv survey indicated there is little interest in the initiative.

Eighty-four percent of settlers said they would not relocate in exchange for compensation equivalent to the value of their homes, while 11 percent said they would and 5 percent were undecided.

Money appears to be a secondary concern for the settlers, many of whom are religious and ideologically driven. Asked if they would move in exchange for compensation equivalent to double the value of their homes, 76 percent said no, 17 percent said yes, and 7 percent were undecided.

The survey, published Friday, had 400 respondents and a 4.9 percent margin of error.

Israeli officials have hinted that the West Bank security fence could be the border of a future Palestine, meaning that settlers east of the barrier would have to go as part of a diplomatic accord. Many rightist Israelis are distrustful of such thinking, especially given the complaints by many of the settlers evacuated from the Gaza Strip in 2005 that they have been neglected by the government.

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