Netanyahu: No Choice but to Order Israeli Security Forces to Evacuate Settlers From Hebron House

Following the surprise evacuation of house invaded by settlers over two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Lieberman says authority over West Bank settlement should be taken away from Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Following harsh criticism of Defense Minister Ehud Barak by Likud ministers over the evacuation of a Hebron house on Wednesday, senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office said that the evacuation was carried out after careful coordination between the defense minister and the prime minister.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu's aides went on the defensive against right-wing criticism and said that the prime minister had no choice but to approve the evacuation out of security and legal consideration.

Hebron - Reuters - April 4, 2012

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also criticized Barak on Wednesday, saying authority over issues regarding settlements in Judea and Samaria must be taken out of Barak's hands and given to a committee of ministers. Lieberman even suggested that if no changes are made in this respect, the coalition's stability may come under threat.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli security forces evacuated Israeli settlers from the house in a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron, in a surprise move that ended an affair that sparked controversy across Israel and caused a rift in the government.

The IDF said that the evacuation of the settlers, who resided in the house for more than two weeks, was completed "without any unusual events."

Lieberman's criticism of Barak echoed comments made earlier on Wednesday by Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who said that Barak must be stripped of all authority over West Bank settlements.

Ehud Barak is acting against the government and against the settlements in Judea and Samaria, all he is doing is fanning the flames, Ya'alon said Wednesday during a closed discussion.

"It is imperative to check that the settlers documents of sale are not counterfeit. If it turns out that they are in order, the purchase must be approved and the settlers allowed entry. This is not a national, or a defense issues, the property rights need to be checked. Why does the defense minister claim that such a check will take weeks when it can be done in a few days? said Ya'alon.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak fired back at Ya'alon on Wednesday, claiming that the deputy prime minister is making comments against him out of political considerations.

Unfortunately, Minister Yaalon is combining cheap political concerns with defense decisions, harming the governments ability to protect democracy and law and order," officials close to Barak said.

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