Ehud Olmert at Ben Gurion memorial ceremony
Ehud Olmert at Ben Gurion memorial ceremonyFlash 90

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert revealed Wednesday that he still plans to move many Judea and Samaria Jews to other parts of Israel. During a tour of the area in which the IDF plans to build “Bahadim city,” Olmert said, “In an unstoppable process, tens of thousands of people will move from Judea and Samaria to the Negev.”

The process of developing the Negev will begin with the construction of a large army base, Olmert said. “Tens of thousands of people in this country understand that the country's future lies here. The army gives us the opportunity to begin this process,” he said. “This is a national process unlike anything since the establishment of the state.”

Olmert and IDF officials discussed concrete plans to develop the area, such as the construction of a train leading to the Bahadim army camp. Once the Bahadim army camp is built, Negev roads will be unable to handle the heavy traffic in the area, they said.

Olmert began his term as Prime Minister with a promise to force tens of thousands of Jews out of their homes in Judea and Samaria under what he termed “the Convergence.” He has repeatedly said Israel must make “painful concessions” in order to make peace with the Palestinian Authority, which demands all of Judea and Samaria.

A similar plan was in place for Jews expelled from their homes in Gaza. Senior government officials said at the time of the expulsion, in 2005, that former residents of Gaza would settle barren areas along the Ashkelon coast and in the Lachish region between Hevron and Be'er Sheva. Construction recently began on some permanent communities for expellees in the Negev. In other sites, building has yet to begin. Most the Jews expelled from Gush Katif still live in temporary housing.