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Former Israeli government aide says settlers to be evacuated

Sept. 12, 2013 at 6:57 AM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A former Israeli government aide estimates some 100,000 settlers will need to be evacuated for a two-state solution to be implemented in the Mideast.

"Any outline of two states for two people will involve the evacuation of settlers," The Jerusalem Post quoted Gilad Sher, the former chief of staff to Ehud Barak when he was prime minister, saying Wednesday.

This would involve uprooting some 100,000 settlers -- approximately a third of the Jewish population in the West Bank, he said. Sher was speaking at a Tel Aviv University conference marking the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords.

Sher said he doubted Israel and the Palestinians would reach a final status agreement at this time, referring to the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians with the aim of reaching a final status agreement within nine months. He said he believed the gaps between the sides can be bridged in time.

Despite this, Israel should prepare for a two-state solution and halt construction in isolated West Bank settlements and draw up plans for their eventual evacuation, he said. This could take up to three or four years, he said adding, "we have to prepare ourselves in an organized way, on a national level for the time when the settlers will come back home to the borders of Israel."

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