Poll: 25% of Settlers East of Fence Prepared to Leave Homes

Survey ordered by movement helping settlers who want to leave settlements in return for alternative housing.

A quarter of West Bank settlers living east of the security fence are willing to leave their homes immediately if they are compensated, according to a poll conducted by the TNS Teleseker company for the One Home (Bait Ehad) movement published Saturday.

According to the poll, 74 percent of the general public supports a new "evacuation-compensation" bill that would enable settlers to leave their settlements and move within the Green Line border in return for alternative housing, and 35 percent of the settlers living east of the fence support this bill. The poll also shows that 70 percent of the general public believes that additional West Bank settlements will be evacuated.

The One Home movement, which ordered the survey, is lead by MKs Avshalom Vilan (Meretz-Yahad) and Colette Avital (Labor). The movement helps settlers living east of the separation fence, who are interested in moving into Israel, and who are unable to do so for financial reasons (mainly due to the decrease in the value of their property). For this purpose the movement is promoting a "voluntary evacuation-compensation" bill scheduled to be brought before a Knesset vote next week.

According to Vilan, following the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements this summer, "settlers are aware that they are next in line to be evacuated. The separation fence, which has left tens of thousands of families outside of Israel's future area, who are exposed to Palestinian terror and are unable to sell their homes for a price that will enable them to buy another home, has deepened their misery."

Alon Pinkas, one of the movement's leaders, said that "it is clear that their will be a second disengagement in Judea and Samaria, it is clear that it will take place before a permanent agreement, and it is clear that it will include the 80,000 settlers living outside of the fence. Therefore, the government must stop using settlers as bargaining chips and hostages and enable them to voluntary leave right now."

According to MK Avital, hundreds of settler families have already asked the movement for help in evacuating their homes for compensation. "The government prefers to ignore the voices coming from those settlements, but eventually it will have to find an agreed solution for them," she said.

The poll was conducted among 500 people living in settlements outside of the West Bank security fence, and among 500 members of the general Jewish public across the country.

Newly elected Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz last week submitted a Knesset bill, which would offer to grant compensation to any West Bank settlement if 60 percent of its residents agreed to leave voluntarily.

According to Peretz, the bill is aimed at preserving the momentum of the unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements.