Barak with soldier in background 311.
(photo credit: Linui Alihi, Defense Ministry)
Security forces have to act against illegal construction, particularly when it
takes place on private Palestinian land in the West Bank, Defense Minister Ehud
Barak said on Tuesday during a tour of the South.
He was speaking the
morning after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu created a special committee to
be led by the defense minister that will consolidate the government’s position
on unauthorized outposts, including those built on private Palestinian land.
This will assist the state in answering legal petitions now under debate before
the High Court of Justice concerning some outposts.
Other members of the
committee will include Minister- without-Portfolio Benny Begin and Vice Premier
Moshe Ya’alon, both of the Likud, and Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, coordinator of
government activities in the territories.
Speaking in the South, Barak
said the government also had to consider issues relating to legalized
settlements. There are more than 250,000 Israelis who live in legal West
Bank settlements; most moved there with the permission and blessing of past
Barak added that there are issues of development and
concrete human needs that should be dealt with in a fair and appropriate manner
within the settlement blocs, but also within isolated
settlements. Settlers have held Barak responsible for a lack of new
building permits in Judea and Samaria communities.
On Monday, Netanyahu
chastised settlers for seeking new building permits and argued that their focus
should be on preserving what they have rather than pushing to expand.