Peace Now: Set evacuation time frame

Peretz instructs IDF to draw up operation plan; Olmert approves eviction orders.

outpost, flag 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
outpost, flag 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer welcomed the eviction orders for 12 West Bank outposts signed Wednesday by Defense Minister Amir Peretz. However, Oppenheimer stressed the importance of a specific time frame for the evacuation. "Signing [the order] is a step in the right direction," Oppenheimer said. "But Amir Peretz has to stand firm and offer a definite schedule for the evacuation of all the outposts in the West Bank," he continued. Ordering the IDF to prepare an evacuation operation plan, Peretz signed eviction orders for 12 illegal outposts in the West Bank, in what could lead the defense establishment on a collision course with the settlement movement. The orders were originally signed by former defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, but they have since expired. Peretz's decision on Wednesday was to reinstate the evacuation orders to grant the defense establishment the ability to speedily evacuate the outposts if he decided to. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also gave his approval for the eviction orders. The outposts designated for eviction included: Mizpeh Yitzhar near the settlement of Yitzhar; Yitzhar Darom (South); Havat Shaked; Givat Hadegel near Karnei Shomron; Givat Haroeh near Ramallah; Mizpeh Assaf near Beit El; Mizpeh Lahish near Hebron and Hazon David near Kiryat Arba. Peretz further ordered IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz to begin drawing up an operational plan for the evacuation. OC central command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, together with the police, would decide, officials said, what the evacuation order would be and which outpost would be evacuated first. Security officials estimated that the evacuations would be done gradually and not simultaneously. "To evacuate all of the outposts together would create a huge burden on the defense establishment," one official said. "It would be best to do them one by one." Settlers, the security official further predicted, would most probably not violently resist the evacuation. The recent evacuation of a home in Hebron the official said, and the minimal resistance settlers demonstrated there, indicated that the right wing was aware that violence was not the way to prevent the inevitable. The evacuation plan, the official said, was based on a report recently compiled by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yosef Mishlav on illegal outposts Officials in Peretz's office downplayed the eviction orders signed by the minister claiming that the evacuation of illegal outposts was part of the coalition guidelines that the Labor party negotiated with Kadima prior to joining the coalition. The High Court is scheduled to hear petitions submitted by Peace Now which has demanded that the state explain why it has so far refused to evacuated the illegal outposts despite the orders signed already two years ago.