A special ministerial committee decided Monday night to legalize the three West
Bank outposts of Rehalim, Bruchin and Sansana.
The move comes even as the
government continues to search for a solution to the Ulpana outpost located on
the outskirts of the Beit El settlement, which the Supreme Court said must be
evacuated by the end of April because it was built on private Palestinian
Officials said that high-level meetings on the Ulpana outpost were
held over the last two days, without any decisions being reached.
option being discussed is to uproot the outpost, and rebuild it on land inside
Bet El that was formally used as an army base.
Defense Minister Ehud
Barak has spoken to the media in support of that possibility both on Monday and
Sunday of this week.
Regarding Rehalim and Bruchin, which are both in
Samaria, and Sansana, located in the southern Hebron Hills, government officials
said the decision to formalize their status did not “change the reality on the
ground,” and that the move neither represented the establishment of new
settlements or the expansion of existing ones.
Rather, the officials
said, the move merely gave legal standing to the three communities which, for
various technical reasons, had never been granted that status in the
The 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.
Netanyahu promised to formalize
the standing of the three communities, as well as find a solution to the Ulpana
outpost without destroying 30 homes there, after the security forces removed
Jews who had moved into a home they purchased in Hebron earlier this
Officials said the decision to formally authorize the three
communities as settlements did not violate a pledge Israel made not to create
new settlements, because these communities were created prior to that
Attorney Talia Sasson included Bruchin and Rehalim in her 2005
report on outposts that she penned for the government.
Sasson, Bruchin was established in May 1999 on state land, some two kilometers
away from the Alei Zahav settlement with NIS 3.3 million from the Construction
and Housing Ministry.
She said it was unclear if it had authorization
from the government or the Defense Ministry. She did note that according to the
civil administration, it had been approved by the government.
added that it also lacked zoning plans.
According to Sasson’s report,
Rehalim was created in 1991, near the Kfar Tapuah settlement, with NIS 980,000
from the Construction and Housing Ministry. She said that it lacked
authorization from the government or the Defense Ministry.
It was built
partially on state land and partially on land that belonged to private
Palestinians, she added.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.