Israeli Minister of Security, Binyamin Ben Eliezer surprised today with an announcement saying Israel will clear 13 of it's settlements in the disputed areas with the Palestinians. Israel is accused of holding 69 illegal settlements.
Ben Eliezer said: "I know it's too little too late, but it's better than never. I am studying the subject right now. Two things are on the top of my list: Security and the people involved".
Over 400 Israeli soldiers are needed to protect the 69 settlements. There is a strong calling in the Israeli society to withdraw from these settlements, which some say are a way of enforcing some areas as belonging to Israel. There is a lot of criticism inside and outside of Israel regarding these settlements which are not permitted by international law. For this reason the Israeli government has been working on withdrawing from them.
In Israel there is hope that this act of good will won't be taken lightly, and would be a stepping stone in rebuilding trust with the Palestinians. Ben Eliezer's decision is quite controversial, and could make him pay a political price.
Action expected against Hamas On another note, the Israeli Army has begun recalling it's reserves in a large action expected against the Hamas. During this action, the Israeli forces expect to e capture a large amount of Hamas activists who have been involved in terrorism, whilst suffering as few as possible losses. The Palestinian police has been arresting many Hamas activists in the past days as well, in what could be seen as a beginning of cooperation with the Israelis, in addition to protection of the lives of some of these activists who would be expected to fight the Israeli forces to the death. Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, has been put in house arrest in the last day because of his calls supporting suicide terrorism in Israel.
Gil Eyal Israel PRAVDA.Ru