Cabinet approves nat'l priority map

Barak Priority map awar

By JPOST.COM STAFF, GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
December 13, 2009 14:41
3 minute read.
barak cabinet 248 88 aj

barak cabinet 248 88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The cabinet approved the national priorities map by 21 votes to five on Sunday. Ashkelon was not included in the map, but many settlements were, including several settlements in isolated West Bank spots located beyond the security barrier. The ministers also decided to set up an exceptions committee that will decide within 30 days whether to add Ashkelon to the plan and whether to keep settlements east of the security fence on the map. Following pressure from Shas, Lachish region locales to which Gush Katif evacuees were relocated were added to the list. Following the vote, Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz lauded the decision, calling the map a "necessary, ethical decision that fits with the ongoing efforts of this government to recuperate the evacuees of Gush Katif." The five Labor ministers voted against the map after Defense Minister and Labor leader Ehud Barak voiced his fierce opposition to the plan saying it "disproportionately represented" residents of isolated settlements and gives a "prize" for right-wing extremism. "Labor's preference is the Galilee, Negev and periphery. Period," Barak said. "The IDF safeguards the security of Israelis everywhere and will continue to do so in every situation. "However, there are a number of small settlements that are consistently a source of acts of extremism that harm the very fabric of life in Judea and Samaria," the defense minister said. As an example, Barak cited Friday's vandalism of a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf. Barak said he did not believe such settlers should get the "prize of being included in the national priority map." Reiterating that security forces would continue to protect all Israelis, the defense minister pointed out that the security situation in Judea and Samaria was better than it had been for many years. A source in the Prime Minister's Office had said that the more than 120,000 residents of Judea and Samaria on the list represented only a small fraction of those impacted by the map. Following the vote, Labor and Kadima MKs expressed their opposition to the map approved by the cabinet. MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) accused the government of dealing "with ensuring its own survival more than any other issue. With one hand, it freezes settlement construction and with the other it pays hush money to the hilltop youth in unauthorized outposts. "The map should have been drawn according to socioeconomic lines and not political lines," Sheetrit said. "The time has come to stop playing games," said MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor). "Netanyahu is making a mockery of Labor. There is no benefit to Labor being in the government when it is such an irrelevant minority. Labor isn't even a fig leaf anymore." MK Yuli Tamir (Labor) voiced similar disappointment. "The government's decision on the map makes the freeze unnecessary and proves that Labor has become a joke in Bibi's government." The Labor ministers also discussed the map in their ministerial meeting before the cabinet session. "The increase in the Arab population included in the map from eight percent to 40% is an important accomplishment, but as long as [Samarian settlements] Itamar and Yitzhar are in, we will be against the map," said a spokesman for minister-without-portfolio Avishay Braverman, who is responsible for the Israeli-Arab population. Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog said that from his standpoint, as long as the isolated settlements were included, nothing had changed. He harshly condemned the map in Sunday's Labor ministerial meeting. Security is one of the primary reasons settlements are included within a national priority area, but those on the list are also slated to receive preferential governmental treatment and incentives for education, housing, infrastructure and employment. At the start of Sunday's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stressed that the aim of the plan was twofold. "Some 40 percent of Israel's non-Jewish residents will be included in the plan, and we're trying to give them benefits in education, employment and infrastructure," he said, adding that the initiative would also give "real security to Jewish residents living in those areas." Industry and Trade Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer stressed that security does not need to be the "determinant" for decisions regarding the map, "because in war, the center of the country would be threatened more than isolated settlements." The map was last revised in 2002 under former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who placed all the settlements on the map. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was in the midst of redrawing the map in a way that would have excluded most of the settlements, but was unable to complete the task before he left office. Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN