Gov't approves security cabinet

High Court rules local councils may use funds for anti-pullout campaigns.

The High Court of Justice ruled on Sunday that local councils in the West Bank may transfer funds out of their operating budgets to groups campaigning against settlement evacuations. However, the court decided, the government is entitled to cut the budget of any local authority by the same amount that the authority allocates to anti-pullout activity, Israel Radio reported. On Sunday, the government, which has been tested as calls grow on the Right for a referendum on any further pullback, approved the security cabinet. Twelve ministers will be members - seven from Kadima, three from Labor, one from the Gil Pensioners' Party, and one from Shas. The Labor representatives in the cabinet will be Defense Minster Amir Peretz, Binyamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer, and Ophir Paz-Pines. Other ministers will be extended invitations to participate in the cabinet meetings. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said when his government was sworn in that his main priority was carrying out his 'convergence' plan for a dramatic pullout from most of the West Bank, calling in 'Zionism's lifeline.' He said the major settlement blocs would remain Israel's forever. 'The continuation of scattered settlements throughout the West Bank creates an inseparable mix of populations that will threaten the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state,' Olmert told the Knesset. 'The borders of Israel that will be formed in the coming years will be significantly different from the territories that the state of Israel holds today.'