Welfare minister: Remove remote settlements now

Meir Cohen says isolated settlements should be removed; says Israel has lost control of West Bank hill-top youth.

May 25, 2013 21:17
1 minute read.
Homesh in 2005

jewish settlers stands on a house Homesh in 2005 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Welfare Minister Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) said on Saturday that Israel should dismantle isolated settlements immediately without waiting for negotiations, Israel Radio reported.  

"These settlements cost us alot of money and we must do the utmost so we do not appear to be a state that does everything to scuttle negotiations," Cohen said in a cultural event at Holon Theater.

Cohen added that Israel had lost control of the settlers in some instances and in particular it had lost control of the "hill-top youth."

"We must deal with this youth and bring them back to normal behavior," Cohen said. 

Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid echoed Cohen's opinion about dismantling settlements on Tuesday when he said  at his party's faction meeting that he thought it was  “heartbreaking” that tens of thousands of Jews would have to be removed from their homes in “remote settlements.”

But Lapid said he opposes changes in settlement policy and will not stop their “natural expansion” or incentives for Israelis to move to the West Bank.

In the meantime, before any settlements are uprooted, an interim Palestinian state should be created in the West Bank, with final borders that will be set in several years, Lapid said.

The finance minister expressed hope that US Secretary of State John Kerry visit to Israel would “jump-start” the peace process when he arrives next week.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.  

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