'Authorizing 3 outposts won’t make new settlements'

Prime Minister’s Office claims past cabinet decisions already approved Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana as settlements.

Rehalim outpost 370 (photo credit: rechelim.org)
Rehalim outpost 370
(photo credit: rechelim.org)
The Prime Minister’s Office is preparing documentation for Sunday’s cabinet meeting to show that the authorization of three West Bank outposts is a technical adjustment and does not constitute the creation of new settlements.
Political sources have told The Jerusalem Post that the cabinet is expected to authorize the three West Bank outposts of Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana, thereby converting them into legalized settlements.
Israel has promised the international community not to create new settlements and has not done so for over a decade.
But the Prime Minister’s Office said that past cabinet decisions, that predate that pledge, approve these three communities as settlements.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, 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.
But it did not provide the text of the decisions.
The Defense Ministry, however, never finished the authorization process, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. As a result, they remained unauthorized communities.
It added that part of the problem was a technical one, involving the language of the initial decisions, which needs to be adjusted. All three outposts are on state land, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Attorney Talia Sasson included Bruchin and Rehalim in the 2005 report on outposts that she penned for the government.
According to 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 Ministry of Construction and Housing.
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.
Sasson 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 Ministry of Construction and Housing. She said that it lacked authorization from the government or the Defense Ministry. Sasson added that it was built partially on state land and partially on land that belonged to private Palestinians.
Peace Now lists all three communities as outposts. It estimates that Bruchin, which is among the largest of all approximately 100 outposts, has a population of 350 people, with 52 caravans and 53 permanent homes. It estimates that Rehalim has a population of 240 with 24 permanent homes and 41 mobile ones.
It similarly estimates that Sansana has a population of 240, with 21 mobile homes and 58 caravans.