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Cabinet expected to curtail Barak's power to veto West Bank settlement construction

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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 11:04 PM
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Cabinet expected to curtail Barak's power to veto West Bank settlement construction
Anticipated decision would move control of World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division from Agriculture Ministry to Prime Minister's Office.

By Barak Ravid

The cabinet is expected to vote on Sunday to curtail Defense Minister Ehud Barak's authority to supervise construction in West Bank settlements.

The proposal would revoke Barak's right to veto West Bank construction by the World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division. The division budgets NIS 25 million a year for this purpose.

The Settlement Division was set up in 1967 after Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula. For years, it was tasked with building settlements in the West Bank and did not deal with the Negev or Galilee at all.

Attorney Talia Sasson's report on illegal West Bank settlement outposts, which was published in March 2005 and later adopted by the cabinet, said the division mainly set up unauthorized outposts in the West Bank, without the government's approval, including some that were on privately-owned Palestinian land.

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