The cabinet on Sunday voted to move the World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division from the Agriculture Ministry to the Prime Minister's Office.Since 1967, the division has assisted development over the Green Line, including housing infrastructure.It was moved from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Labor-led Agriculture Ministry in July 2007, during the tenure of former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
The change is seen as a blow to the authority of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who had opposed the move. The division will move from the Agriculture Ministry headed by Orit Noked of Barak's Independence Faction to the Prime Minister's Office where it will be directly under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Settlement activity in the West Bank will no longer require the authorization of Barak. He had requested, unsuccessfully, to postpone the cabinet discussion of the issue until he returned from a trip to France.