Ministers Oppose Ramon Plan

Senior ministers slammed Vice Premeir Chaim Ramon's proposal to convince Jewish families to leave Judea and Samaria.

Maayana Miskin ,

Vice Premier Chaim Ramon
Vice Premier Chaim Ramon

Senior ministers slammed Vice Premier Chaim Ramon's proposal to convince Jewish families to leave Judea and Samaria, shortly before the plan was to be discussed during the weekly cabinet session on Sunday. Ramon's plan would give NIS 1.1 million to families that agree to abandon their homes east of the partition fence, and additional money to those willing to move to the Negev in the south or the Galilee in the north.

Ramon claims that 18 percent of those living east of the separation barrier—over 11,000 people—would be willing to accept the offer, making it easier for the government to clear the area of Jews completely in the event of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Community leaders in Judea and Samaria have warned that any houses abandoned under the Ramon plan would be immediately given to new families.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter warned that the plan “will only weaken, not strengthen, Israel.” The timing of the proposal is problematic, he said. Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit criticized Ramon's timing as well, saying, “As long as there is no peace settlement, I am opposed to clearing out even a single house.” The Palestinian Authority has not yet made any compromises for the sake of peace, he added.

Shas party head Eli Yishai criticized the plan as well, saying, “The Jewish people has not yet recovered from one accursed expulsion, and there are those who plan new expulsions.” Shas will do whatever possible to prevent the plan, Yishai said.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed support for the plan, and strongly criticized those who believe that Jews should remain in the entire biblical Land of Israel. “Greater Israel is finished; there is no more such thing,” Olmert said. “Whoever talks that way is just fooling himself.”