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Friday, December 14, 2007

Mayor Moyal gets a call from the Reserves

At the request of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal (pictured, top left) has retracted his resignation. Moyal had resigned on Wednesday night after a barrage of some twenty Kassams against his beleaguered town, saying that he did not want to be responsible when - God forbid - twenty children are killed in a school he ordered opened. Before a meeting with Barak yesterday, and following yet another Kassam attack in which a 40-year old woman was moderately wounded, Moyal told Haaretz that "If the Defense Minister tells me 'stay,' then from my end, that's like being called to reserve duty."

Moyal also apparently managed to gain some concessions from Barak. First, Barak is proposing to the cabinet that a 'special situation' be declared in Sderot at least until the end of March 2008. Where have we heard that before?
Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided on Thursday evening to declare a "special situation" in Sderot and in other communities bordering the Gaza Strip, due to constant Qassam rocket attacks from the coastal territory.

The decision will go before the government for approval during its next meeting, and then before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The declaration means that the Israel Defense Forces and the Home Front Command will cooperate in decisions pertaining to the management of Sderot and the other affected communities.

Barak recommended the declaration remain in effect until March 2008. A similar order expired roughly one month ago.

The declaration essentially transfers emergency authority from the state to the army. Therefore, the IDF Southern Command can determine whether or not schools will remain open, and the Home Front can order factories containing dangerous materials to close their doors.

Residents affected by the special situation are eligible to be compensated for damages suffered as a result of the declaration.
There's a second payoff: Israel Radio is reporting that Barak has agreed to support a request for NIS 300 million for fortifying homes in Sderot. Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert opposes fortifying homes in Sderot. I'm amazed that it took Barak this long to figure out that this is a good idea for him politically.


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