Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Yesha Rejects Call by Settlers for Dialogue with Palestinians

December 14, 1995
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A call from a settler-movement publication for dialogue between the settlers and the Palestinian Authority has been rejected by the main council of settler leaders.

“The Palestinian Authority is a fact,” wrote Uri Elitsur, editor of Nekuda, which in Hebrew means “point.”

“I propose talking to them directly,” he wrote. “We have 1,000 issues to arrange with our new neighbors, and I suggest we start immediately.

Prime Minister Shimon Peres praised Elitsur for suggesting dialogue, but the Yesha Council, which represents settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, was less welcoming.

“The council opposes any contact with representatives of the Palestinian Authority,” a spokesman said.

Israel is due to withdraw from three West Bank towns by the end of the year. It has already pulled back from the towns of Jenin, Talkarm and Nablus.

Jewish settlers have responded to the redeployments with apprehension, expressing concerns for their security.

Under the terms of the agreement for extending autonomy autonomy in the West Bank, none of the settlements, home to some 130,000 Israelis, will be moved or dismantled.

The accord calls for a number of measures to ensure their security, including the building of bypass roads circumventing the Arab population centers.

“We don’t want to move (the settlers) from where they are,” Peres told Israel Radio. “The more they can establish different relations [with the Arabs], the better.”

Peres also repeated the government stand that it would not compensate settlers who choose to leave the West Bank on their own.

“It could become a business. They will settle, return, ask for compensation. We are no asking anyone to evacuate,” Peres said.

Recommended from JTA