Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday set up a small ministerial panel
with the authority to legalize unauthorized outposts on state
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the panel was designed to
legalize three West Bank outposts: Rehalim, Bruchin and Sansana.
three cases, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, the government made
initial decisions to authorize the three communities as legal settlements over a
decade ago, but technical issues prevented their legalization.
government approved the creation of Bruchin on May 19, 1983, Rehalim on November
27, 1991, and Sansana on June 28, 1998 as legal settlements, according to the
Prime Minister’s Office.
The new panel will now resolve the technical
issues related to the three outposts and then legalize them. It was created in
lieu of Netanyahu’s promise to bring the issue to the government for
Israeli officials have explained that authorizing these three
outposts does not violate Israel’s pledge not to create new settlements, because
these communities were created prior to that promise.
insisted that the panel was formed to solely deal with the issues relating to
Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana.
But the language of the panel’s technical
mandate is broader. It speaks of legalizing settlements that are now
unauthorized outposts, and which were constructed years ago on state land with
state funds or with initial agreements from state bodies. Some two-thirds of the
105 unauthorized outposts included in the 2005 report for the government by
Talia Sasson fit this criteria.
The work of this panel differs from that
of the outpost committee created earlier this year, which is headed by Judge
Edmund Levy. That committee is charged with examining the legal issues regarding
The new panel is charged with resolving the issues. Its
members will include Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Vice Premier Moshe
Ya’alon and Minister-without- Portfolio Bennie Begin.
Minister Yuli Edelstein said that he hoped the panel would move quickly to
authorize Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana, possibly in the coming days.
are obliged to bring clarity for the wonderful young families [in these
communities] that could not define their future for years,” he
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said the new committee was further proof
of Netanyahu’s true agenda to continue to develop settlements at the expense of
the peace process.
She added that it was unclear to her how this decision
impacted a previous 1996 cabinet decision that all new settlements must be
brought to the government for approval.