Peretz fronts bill to pay off settlers

Bill urging W. Bank residents to voluntarily leave stirs controversy in Knesset.

In a move that stirred controversy among MKs of all parties, newly elected Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz submitted a Knesset bill Monday that would grant compensation to West Bank settlements where 60% of the residents left voluntarily. In a statement accompanying the bill Peretz wrote that he intended to create "incentives for the continuation of voluntary evacuation of the Israeli citizens located in Judea and Samaria.” "[The disengagement] was a concrete example of the nation's ability to establish a compensation framework appropriate to those residents who were evacuated from their homes," wrote Peretz. The bill was co-sponsored by Labor MKs Yuli Tamir and Ilana Cohen, who have often been criticized along with Peretz for dovish policies. “This is a political step, he is trying to reach out for votes he think he can get,” said a Shas MK who asked not to be named. “This bill won’t ever reach the state where we vote on it. MK Uri Ariel (National Union) also responded calling the bill “a shame."