The state is looking to authorize 18 homes in the West Bank outposts of Givat Hayovel and Harisha in the Binyamin region, according to a response it gave to the High Court of Justice last week.

It is the second time in less than a month that the state has indicated to the court a willingness to authorize West Bank outposts.

It gave a similar response to the court at the end of April with respect to the Derech Ha’avot outpost in Gush Etzion.

Such statements appear to contradict Israel’s promise to the US not to expand or authorize new settlements.

The issue of the three outposts was brought to the attention of the High Court by two Peace Now petitions that seek to force the Defense Ministry to implement demolition orders against homes in them.

But at the end of April and again last week the state said that it was in the process of reexamining the legal status of the land.

It told the court that if its survey showed that the homes were built on state land, it’s intention was to authorize the structures.

The state told the court there is no reason to destroy the homes before the survey in completed.

The court has yet to formally respond to the state in either case, but with respect to the Derech Ha’avot outpost it gave Peace Now 21 days to react to the state’s statements.

Out of all three outposts, Givat Hayovel has been of particular concern for right-wing politicians because it is home to the widows and small children of two slain Golani Brigade majors, Roi Klein and Eliraz Peretz.

None of the three outposts in question is among the 23 unauthorized ones built after March 2001, which Israel had promised the US it would remove.

Located on the outskirts of the Eli settlement, Givat Hayovel was created in 1998 with the help of NIS 250,000 from the Ministry of Construction and Housing. It has 17 permanent homes and 30 caravans.

Harisha was built in the 1990s, with the help of NIS 1.6 million from the ministry. According to Peace Now, there are eight permanent homes and 45 caravans on the site.

Located on the outskirts of the Elazar settlement, Derech Ha’avot was built in February 2001 with the help of NIS 300,000 from the Ministry of Construction Housing. It has 17 permanent homes and 15 mobile ones.

Peace Now has claimed that all three outposts are built on land that is partially or fully owned by Palestinians.

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