Israel may leave Gaza settlements intact

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 | 
Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres is heading a committee that's considering the transfer of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Under the government’s plan, 8,500 settlers will be evacuated from 21 Gaza communities this summer. Originally, Israel planned to demolish the settlements to avoid the spectacle of Palestinians celebrating on abandoned Jewish property. But now that Peres' dovish Labor Party is in the government, there's a change of direction. For instance, Peres believes giving greenhouses to the Palestinians would benefit peace by boosting the Gaza economy. The plan infuriates many Israelis who see it as a reward for terrorism. The settlers say it adds insult to injury.

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