Settlers’ representatives and the ministerial panel headed Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni have failed to arrive at an agreement on moving a group of Gaza settlers en masse to the Nitzanim dunes near Ashdod.

The two sides only agreed to meet again on Monday evening for a ‘defining meeting’.

Governmental sources said Sunday that the plan is likely to be dropped.

‘We can’t send out the bulldozers until we get the settlers’ agreement,’ a senior governmental source said Sunday.

‘We cannot spend public funds without their [the settlers] agreement to the plan.’ The source added.

In recent days, housing ministry officials said that it was very likely that the ministry will set aside the plan to build a new town in Nitzanim and go back to its original plan to expand existing towns to accommodate evacuees.

One proposal is to build 400 new housing units to extend the existing town of Nitzan, south of Ashdod, and another 1,000 housing units in the northern part of Ashkelon.

Settlers, however, want these neighborhoods to be declared new towns and taken out of the municipal jurisdiction of Ashkelon, but the government is opposed to this.

‘The government prefers to avoid a confrontation with the mayor of Ashkelon due to political considerations, and would rather hit a brick wall with 1,500 settler families,’ a source close to the settlers said.

‘It sounds ridiculous to talk of setting up a new council for 1,400 in times when local councils are being merged. What kind of message are you giving to the other local councils?’ an official source said.

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