Daily Israel Report

Shas Opposed to Further Outpost Uprooting

Cabinet Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) calls the government plan to uproot the Jewish outpost communities in Judea and Samaria "forbidden."
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 6/20/2006, 7:56 PM / Last Update: 6/20/2006, 4:34 PM

Mr. Yishai, who is the minister of industry and trade as well as deputy prime minister, told Arutz Sheva Radio on Tuesday that he has been holding a series of conversations with Justice Minister Chaim Ramon and Defense Minister Amir Peretz on the matter. At the same time, he said, he has been meeting with the heads of the Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) Council, an organization representing the Jewish municipalities of Judea and Samaria and the uprooted communities of Gaza.

The IDF is currently preparing a detailed plan for the uprooting of dozens of Jewish outposts in Judea and Samaria, as per the request of Defense Minister Peretz. Following the submission of the IDF plan to the defense minister, the decision to uproot the outposts will be brought to the government for a vote of approval.

Minister Yishai, however, said, "It is forbidden that it [the uprooting plan] be executed. May it never be."

The ministers with whom Yishai has been meeting have told him that the uprooting of the outposts is inevitable, as the government sees them as illegal. It is, Yishai was told, a complicated and difficult problem.

The Shas chairman furthermore noted that he requested the meetings with Defense Minister Peretz particularly at this time, so that the matter could be discussed ahead of the government vote.

When it joined the governing coalition, the Shas Party insisted on the inclusion of a letter of intent allowing it not to vote for a plan that would will include "reduction of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria."

In his interview with Arutz Sheva, Minister Yishai also addressed the Palestinian Authority offensive against the southern town of Sderot, saying that Israel should cut off electricity to the Gaza Strip. As a sign of solidarity with the residents of the besieged city, Mr. Yishai is planning to move his ministerial office to Sderot in the coming days.

When asked how Prime Minister Ehud Olmert might react to such a move, Mr. Yishai said that the prime minister should appreciate and praise the decision, as it serves to encourage and bolster the confidence of citizens in Sderot.

Referring to the dismissive statements made by Minister Shimon Peres on Monday regarding the Kassam rockets falling on Sderot, Minister Yishai said that he prefers not to belabor the issue, but that Peres's words were "a terrible thing."