A general view shows Eish Kodesh outpost. Picture taken January 5, 2016.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must authorize some 15 to 20 outposts at the next meeting of the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee said on Monday.
In May 2017, the Security Cabinet created a committee to handle the authorization process of the wildcat hilltop communities, headed by former Binyamin Regional Council head Pinhas Wallerstein.
Right-wing politicians, including MK Yoav Kisch, who chairs the Internal Affairs Committee and co-chairs the Knesset’s Land of Israel Caucus, have shone a spotlight on this issue.
Prior to the Knesset’s dispersal for the summer, they began to publicize what they feared was the government’s foot dragging on the matter.
On the first day of the fall session, the politicians picked up where they had left off. Wallerstein told them that there are some 15 to 20 outposts that could be presented to the Planning Committee immediately as new neighborhoods of existing settlements.
It’s expected that their approval is simply a technical matter.
The status of another 50 outposts is more complicated, with some 20 needing government votes to approve them as new settlements.
Defense Ministry’s settlement adviser Kobi Eliraz told the committee that the issue is “complex.” He added, “There are places that can be approved [as a] neighborhood within an existing settlement. There are outposts that need a government decision, and some that do not.”
The committee also took issue with a pending state response to the High Court of Justice, which claims that law enforcement against such structures is top on its priority list.
It clarified that it meant for this statement to apply to homes in those 70 West Bank outposts
slated for authorization.
The Committee also called on the attorney general to find a resolution that would allow the authorization of 2,700 illegal settler homes in West Bank settlements.
These homes, initially believed to have been authorized, are now viewed as illegal because of land assessment surveys the Civil Administration is conducting.
YESHA Council deputy head Yigal Dilmoni said it was important to remember that behind each of these homes is a family that has been harmed by the government’s action.
Committee members charged that the Civil Administration survey was operating at higher standards than land assessments that were taking place with in sovereign Israel.
MK Shulamit “Shuli” Mualem-Rafaeli (Bayit Yehudi) said that the authorizations of these outposts was part of the larger drive to impose Israeli sovereignty on Area C of the West Bank and that it had the broad support of the Israeli public.
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) took issue with her statement. “The majority of the public doesn’t support the annexation of Area C or the creation of one state there.”
She added that the committee was fooling the public by turning the debate into a technical matters of rules and regulations, when the overall issue was that there actions were destroying the two-state solution.
“If you think you need to annex, so annex. If you think that you need to resolve the issue with one state, create one state, just stop misleading everyone.”