Agreement reached to save Ramat Gilad outpost

Government agrees to authorize retroactively Ramat Gilad outpost homes located on state land in West Bank.

Settlers gather for prayer in Ramat Gilad_311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Settlers gather for prayer in Ramat Gilad_311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
The government agreed Wednesday to retroactively authorize homes located on state land in the Ramat Gilad outpost, on the outskirts of the Karnei Shomron settlement in Samaria.
In exchange, Ramat Gilad residents will voluntarily remove nine structures situated in a portion of the outpost that, according to the state, is located on private Palestinian property.RELATED:Couple leads effort to stop Ramat Gilad outpost demolition Settlers fear razing of Ramat Gilad outpost
“It’s an important achievement,” said Karnei Shomron Council head Herzl Ben-Ari.
The deal comes as residents of three other outposts – Givat Assaf, Migron and the Ulpana – are working to prevent the state from demolishing their homes in the next half-year.
In response to a petition from Peace Now, the state had promised the court that it would remove the nine Ramat Gilad structures located on private Palestinian property, of which five serve as family homes, by the end of this month.
Earlier this month, in response to the same petition, the IDF demolished a caravan home and a chicken coop on the outskirts of the Mitzpe Yitzhar outpost, near the Yitzhar settlement in Samaria.
But as the IDF readied Wednesday to move against Ramat Gilad, settlers, with the help of Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, reached a deal with the state.
First, the settlers will relocate nine caravans in the coming months to a portion of the outpost that is on state land and or to a nearby area in Karnei Shomron.
The state will then authorize a zoning plan for an area near the end of Karnei Shomron that includes the Ramat Gilad outpost.
Once the plan is approved, 11 structures that are now on state land in Ramat Gilad will automatically be authorized.
Separately, according to security sources, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria will reexamine the status of the land in the section of the outpost that the state has designated as belonging to private Palestinian citizens. It will also reexamine the settlement’s boundary line, to make sure it was properly set.
Karnei Shomron resident Moshe Zar has claimed that he purchased the Ramat Gilad land from Palestinians, but the state has yet to recognize that purchase.
The outpost, which was constructed in 2001, is named for Zar’s son Gilad, who was killed that year by Palestinians in a drive-by shooting.
His daughter Michal Shoam lives with her family in one of the outpost caravans. The Zar family also began building a synagogue for the outpost to be named for Gilad, but the Civil Administration ordered them to stop work on the structure, which is only partially completed.
Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said he was glad the parties had reached an understanding “that provides for a solution without any confrontation.”
Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer attacked the deal, which he said sent the wrong message to the settlement movement – particularly in the aftermath of the “pricetag” attacks that right wing extremists have carried out to protest settlement home demolitions.
The state, Oppenheimer said, “has surrendered to the violence of the settlers and their political influence.”
He declared that “the lessons learned from Ramat Gilad are clear. It will be fruitful for the settlers to continue to take over Palestinian land, because in return for voluntary evacuations, they will get approvals and authorizations for illegal outposts.”
But Dayan disagreed. He said the price-tag attacks, particularly the one against the IDF Ephraim Brigade base, had almost derailed negotiations for an agreement.
“The agreement was reached in spite of the violence that occurred, and not because of it,” he said.