The Israeli cabinet has bowed to a High Court ruling and agreed to move a controversial Jewish settlement from the heart of the Arab West Bank.
The Israeli cabinet has bowed to a High Court ruling and agreed to move a controversial Jewish settlement from the heart of the Arab West Bank. The decision means the Elon Moreh settlement established by the extremist Gush Emunim religious group, will be dismantled and shifted to a government site by the end of the month. The cabinet ruling was a sound defeat for hard line government members advocating unlimited settlement in the occupied West Bank.
SYNOPSIS: The stormy cabinet meeting lasted for six hours. As the debate continued in the cabinet room, demonstrators gathered outside to support the Elon Moreh settlement. The Gush Emunim followers proclaim the God-given right of Jews to settle anywhere in the West Bank.
When it came, the cabinet decision was a clear defeat for Agriculture Minister General Ariel Sharon, who stormed out before the outcome was announced.
The High Court ordered the dismantling of Elon Moreh after dispossessed Arabs had contended the settlement was built on private land. Israeli law says the land can be seized only for defence purposes, and the court rejected a military claim that the settlement was important for security. Government dissension over the ruling led to the resignation of Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan last month and a warning from Defence Minister Weizman that the Gush Emunim settlers would be moved by force if necessary. The settlers were angry at the cabinet decision.