Israel Resource Review 16th November, 2008


Israel's Southern Communities Furious At Gov't
David Bedein

Jerusalem - "The residents of the region will not silently overlook this and will settle accounts with those running for the country's leadership in the upcoming elections," Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Haim Yellin and Shaar Hanegev Council Chairman Alon Schuster said on Wednesday. Their comments were made in response to the security cabinet decision not to approve an additional budget for fortifying houses in the Israeli communities near Gaza.

The Israeli government security cabinet meeting was held in wake of a petition to the
High Court of Justice on fortifications that included a demand to expand the range of the houses to be fortified to a distance of four miles from the border fence.

At the meeting, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai presented the plan whereby another half-billion Israeli shekels were needed to fortify 1,300 housing units in order to complete an overall plan to fortify 4,700 units. As said, the ministers decided not to approve the addition.

The decision elicited great anger in the communities. Mr. Yellin told the Israeli media that "the government is sticking its head in the sand without understanding that there is a population here that is facing Hamas without any possibility of a scrap of protection."

Kadima Knesset Member Shai Hermesh, who lives in Kfar Azza, not far from Gaza spoke out harshly against his own government: "The security cabinet's decision to forsake the residents is more hurtful than the Qassam rocket fire that the region has taken in the last seven years. It is unfortunate that we will need to go to the High Court of Justice in order to open the blind eyes and hearts of the security cabinet ministers."

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