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Cabinet Sets Up Committee to Deal with Compensation for Yamit Settlers

December 14, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Cabinet appointed a three-member ministerial committee today to deal with compensation for the settlers of Yamit in northern Sinai who must evacuate the town when the region is returned to Egypt next April.

The issue is an explosive one. The settlers resorted to civil disobedience last week to protest the government’s offer which they consider inadequate. Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, who visited the town, persuaded them to end their strike and reopen the gates which had been sealed shut. He expressed sympathy for their situation but insisted that the matter of compensation must be settled in an atmosphere of law and order.

The Cabinet committee assigned the task consists of Deputy Premier and Agriculture Minister Shimcha Ehrlich, Finance Minister Yoram Aridor and Minister of Housing and Construction David Levy. It is not likely to please the settlers who have dealt with Ehrlich and Levy before and came away disappointed. Aridor is not expected to be any more generous than his colleagues. The committee was instructed to negotiate with the residents on the basis of a declaration of principles adopted by the Cabinet.

Its appointment reflected the angry mood in the government toward the Yamit residents. Several ministers have demanded drastic action to restore order in the town and to put an end to infiltration by ideologically motivated settlers from other regions who have joined the “Stop the Withdrawal Movement.”

Over the weekend, 15 more families, including some from the Golan Heights, moved into empty houses at Moshav Nir Avraham which lies deeper in Sinai than Yamit. The newcomers were greeted with flowers, cakes and wine by their neighbors. In the past three months, more than 50 families opposed to the return of Sinai to Egypt moved into empty houses in several agricultural settlements in the area. An equal number took up residence in Yamit. Most of them appropriated houses abandoned by original settlers who accepted government compensation and relocated in Israel.

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