Kadima MK Elkin to move beyond fence

Protests Ramon's W. Bank compensation plan by resettling in Eldad which is located in Gush Etzion.

Zeev Elkin 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Zeev Elkin 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Several MKs issued statements over the weekend criticizing Vice Premier Haim Ramon for his efforts to pass a bill that would begin the process of compensating West Bank settlers who agreed to evacuate their homes east of the security fence. But one MK has decided to take action. Fellow Kadima MK Ze'ev Elkin intends to move to the settlement of Eldad, which is near Tekoa and the Herodion in the Gush Etzion Regional Council and is outside the fence. Elkin's move is expected to be approved next week by the settlement's acceptance committee. Eldad - named after National Union MK Arye Eldad's father, Israel Eldad, one of the leaders of the Lehi - is populated by a mix of secular and religious people and of native Israelis and immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Elkin said he had decided to move to Eldad from his current home in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood for ideological reasons. He said he was incensed by reports that Ramon had already received the support of some 70 MKs for a bill he hopes to pass in a preliminary reading by the end of the Knesset's winter session in March. "Ramon is harming Kadima as a centrist party by shifting it to between Labor and Meretz," Elkin said. "If Ramon passes his bill, it will destroy Kadima and leave the party with Meretz's number of mandates." Elkin said Ramon should have brought his bill to a serious debate in the Kadima faction before leaking it to the press. "Ramon's proposal would lead to Israel giving up all of its assets before negotiations even begin," Elkin said. "Ramon should at least invest a fraction of the effort he is making to destroy the settlement enterprise in finding a solution to the problems of the Gush Katif evacuees and the residents of Sderot." Ramon declined to respond to Elkin's criticism or his move. But coalition deputy chairman Yoel Hasson criticized both Elkin and Ramon. "Both Ramon on the Left and Elkin on the Right do damage to Kadima," Hasson said. "Any step that hurts the balance of Right and Left in Kadima is bad for the party."