“Would it be legitimate for the government to decide to evacuate Umm el-Fahm (on the basis of the compensation law for the residents of Gush Katif)?
I think it would.”
So said the director of the administration for uprooting settlements, Yonatan Bassie, in an interview with Hatzofe that will be published on the eve of the New Year. Basie replied to a question asking what his opinion would be if, a prime minister should decide ten years from now, on the basis of the compensation law, to evacuate the Arabs, who by all opinions are Israeli citizens, from Umm el-Fahm, giving them compensation, that he felt that the good of the state and the public would require it.

To the question as to whether the schedule of the expulsion-by March-is realistic, Bassie replied: “No. The prime minister defined the next timetable. The decision in the cabinet or in the government regarding the framework for compensation will be made by the New Year. Afterwards there will be another decision in the government regarding the subject of progress. Only then will I be able to work with the residents. At the moment I am dealing only with the technical preparations: a computer program, an Internet site and so on. I will not evacuate people before that. The compensation law will pass during December. I do not know whether it will meet that deadline. If it does not, if the compensation law does not pass, I will go home. The evacuation will not be completed by March.”

Bassie said during the interview that he has received many responses “from within our camp, including from religious-Zionist leaders and rabbis, who tell me: Do not be deterred. If this has been decreed upon us, and we know you did not make the decision, it is better that one of us deal with it.” He added: “Some of the most important rabbis in the national-religious movement, who certainly think that resistance is a big mistake, have approved my actions,” Basie said, but refused to name them.

Bassie is also convinced that the majority of Gush Katif residents will evacuate without violence and will behave according to the Knesset’s decision. This article ran in HaTzofeh, September 10th, 2004