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Friday, August 12, 2005

Gaza settlers' greenhouses to be handed to Palestinians


A private foundation has raised $14 million to buy most of the greenhouses in Jewish settlements in Gaza, a representative of former Israeli Knesset member Yossi Beilin said Friday. The Economic Cooperation Foundation will transfer the money to the settlers and the greenhouses will be handed over to the Palestinian Authority. The money was raised by International Quartet special envoy James Wolfensohn, a former World Bank president who also contributed $500,000 of his money. Beilin is one of the heads of the foundation and was involved in the talks. The announcement of the deal comes three days before the Israeli government will officially inform 9,000 Israeli Jews in 21 settlements in Gaza and four small settlements in the West Bank that they must leave as part of the government's disengagement plan.
Wolfensohn did a very good thing here, and I applaud it. However, I am willing to bet that within a year these greenhouses will be largely inoperative. The Gaza pullout will be good for Israel, in my opinion. In the long term, it will probably be good for Palestinians as well. In the short term, I expect conditions in the newly liberated territories to be terrible.


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