Israel to leave Gaza settlements intact

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 | 
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz says Israel should scrap its plan to demolish the 21 Gaza settlements because it is a waste of money and endangers soldiers lives. "After we evacuate the settlers we will have to maintain military forces, security guards and forces to destroy the houses in the middle of enemy territory, and there is no assurance that there won't be terror attacks," Mofaz said. "I am not prepared as the defense minister of the state of Israel to endanger Israeli soldiers in order to destroy the homes of settlers." The estimated cost of demolishing the homes is $46 million. So Israel is leaning toward handing the settlements intact to the Palestinians, but ironically they're not enthusiastic. The Palestinians say the settlers' suburban-style homes are unsuitable for overcrowded Gaza, and high rise apartments should be built instead.

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