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.
GV Demonstrators outside Prime Minister's office while Israeli cabinet meets (3 shots)
SV Ministers leaving office
SV Ariel Sharon, Agriculture Minister leaving
CU Justice Minister Shmuel Tamir delivering cabinet decision
GV Elon Moreh settlement on West Bank (3 shots)
GV Israeli flag and star of David erected on rocks
GV Children playing near tents, makeshift homes (3 shots)
CU Settler speaking in English
JUSTICE MINISTER SHMUEL TAMIR: "The cabinet held a general discussion concerning the policy of settlement. The ministerial committee on defence has been authorised to determine the new place in the same area to which the Elon Moreh settlement will be moved in the full accordance with the law."
SETTLER: "By transferring the decision to the Security Committee, the government security committee, and not deciding about our whole future (indistinct........) Their decision is as if they didn't make any decision at all."
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Background: 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.