WikiLeaks: Jewish settlers ready to move for money

AP News
Posted: Apr 08, 2011 2:19 PM
WikiLeaks: Jewish settlers ready to move for money

Newly revealed WikiLeaks documents quote a Jewish settler leader as saying some residents of West Bank settlements would be willing to relocate in exchange for compensation, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported Friday.

Publicly, Dani Dayan, leader of the Yesha settler council, has made forceful declarations that settlers will not leave their homes under any circumstances.

Palestinians seek the West Bank for part of a future state and want the 300,000 Jewish settlers there to leave as part of a peace deal with Israel.

Haaretz published the WikiLeaks finding from among 250,000 leaked U.S. State Department memos provided by the secret-spilling website. It said some 10,000 related to Israel.

In one of the documents, written by U.S. diplomats in Israel, Dayan is quoted as saying that some settlers will move in return for proper compensation.

"I'm an economist, and I know that some people will take it if the price is right," he is quoted as saying.

The report also said that Dayan expressed embarrassment over settler violence and that he "understood" the Palestinian connection to West Bank lands.

Dayan played down the WikiLeaks comments attributed to him, saying they were taken out of context. He added that he thought very few settlers would agree to leave but that "the larger the bribe, the more settlers would agree to evacuate."

Israel expects the major settlement blocs, where most of the West Bank settlers live, to remain in Israeli hands under any final peace accord.

Many settlers have privately said they would relocate for a proper price under a final peace deal with the Palestinians.

However, Dayan's WikiLeaks comments sparked outrage among hard-line settlers, some of whom called on him to resign in response.

Israel has largely been spared by the troves of WikiLeaks documents that have embarrassed many Western governments.

Other highlights of "The Israel File" include an Israeli assessment that another war against Lebanese Hezbollah militants would last two months and that thousands of Hezbollah rockets would target the Tel Aviv area.