An Israeli poll conducted by the The GeoCartographia Research Institute in Israeli revealed that 44% of the settlers in the West Bank are willing to voluntarily evacuate from the settlements in return of financial compensation.
Last year, just before Israel carried out the planned pullout from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the West Bank, only 25% of the settlers in the West Bank were willing to evacuate.
64% of the secular settlers, 47% of the religious settlers and 23% of national religious settlers expressed readiness for voluntary evacuation, the poll revealed.
Head of The GeoCartographia Research Institute, Dr. Rina Degani, an expert in the field of calculating the economic potential of products, said during a press conference held on Tuesday that half a million settlers, including 55,000 families, are currently living in West Bank settlements.
This number does not include settlers living settlement outposts in the Old City of Jerusalem, the properties controlled by West Bank settlers worth 19 billion US Dollars.
A research carried by the institute revealed that several settlers groups expressed willingness to leave the settlements as a result of “insecurity” and the reduced amount of support provided to them since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada late September 2000.
Between the years 2001 and 2005, households presented for sale in Israeli settlements increased by 15%, while 10% of the settlers left the settlements over the last two years.
According to the poll results, most of the settlers expressed willingness to move into Israel and live in bigger houses. A big house in Israel costs a minimum of 167.000 US Dollars.
The cost of Olmert’s Convergence Plan is approximately 10 billion U.S dollars. The plan aims at evacuating 60.000 settlers living in the West Bank. The plan does not mean evacuating all settlements from the occupied West Bank.
According to the Israeli Newspaper, Maariv, that United States is still rejecting to finance any part of the convergence plan.
Maariv added that officials at Olmert’s office are currently preparing a plan to carry the convergence plan on three phases.
According to Maariv, Israel will not demand an international recognition of its new borders until it completes the three phases.
Moreover, Israeli sources reported that American officials, currently in Israel, are continuously contacting their administration in the US. Those officials told Olmert that the United States cannot recognize border drawn unilaterally by Israel.
The officials added that it is better to identify the withdrawal line as the current “Green Line” with some minor demographic modifications.
The officials also said that the Green Line should be permanent and that it does not conflict with the “letter of assurances” which the American President George W, Bush handed to the then-Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon in 2004.
The letter included American guarantees to recognize settlement blocs in the West Bank and consider them as part of the State of Israel.