The evacuation of isolated West Bank Jewish communities outside of the
settlement blocs could cost the government more than NIS 250 billion, the
Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip said on
It released this figure amid renewed United States efforts to
revive direct negotiations for a two-state solution. Any final-status agreement
achieved through negotiations would likely involve the evacuation of isolated
West Bank settlements.
But the figure itself was part of a detailed
response to a Peace Now YouTube video released last week, which urged Finance
Minister Yair Lapid to cut spending for West Bank settlements.
animated video called “Lapid, here’s the money,” reminded the finance minister
of his statements prior to the elections, when he said that Netanyahu, at the
expense of the middle class taxpayer, had increased West Bank settlement
spending by 38 percent since taking office in March 2009.
The video noted
places of extra settlement spending that Peace Now already publicized in a
report released last year, in which it said that the government spent NIS 1.6
billion annually on West Bank settlements, above and beyond what it spent on
citizens within the pre-1967 lines.
To arrive at this figure, it used
data from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 budgets.
Peace Now included 2012
figures of NIS 65.8 million to relocate settlers from the Migron outpost that
was demolished, as well as NIS 21.8 million to relocate 30 families from the
Ulpana outpost. It also added in NIS 50 million for Ariel University.
Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip shot back
that the NIS 87.6 million for Migron and the Ulpana outposts was spent to
appease left-wing groups who had petitioned the High Court of Justice against
the outposts, simply to promote a political agenda.
After such wasteful
spending, there is nothing more infuriating than Peace Now thinking it can make
suggestions to Lapid about ways to save money, the council said.
the 1993 Oslo Accord, NIS 52 billion had been wasted by the government in
dealing with the impact of failed left-wing policies, including the 2005
withdrawal from Gaza and terror attacks, the council said.
It included in
this figure funds to protect communities along Israel’s southern border from
Palestinian-launched rockets from Gaza, as well as the cost of the 2005 Gaza
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that the council’s argument was
The High Court of Justice rulings in favor of evacuating the
outposts, were not “decrees from heaven,” she said, but rather a response to
illegal settler activity.
Her organization, Ofran said, is not
responsible for everything that has happened to Israel in the last 20 years
since the Oslo Accords.
However, she noted, that had a final status
agreement emerged from the Oslo Peace Process, Israel would have withdrawn from
the West Bank years ago and been at peace with the Palestinians, she said.