Peace Now: Two new West Bank outposts built

NGO says it fears the illegal settlements are part of renewed push to resume building outposts; IDF issues demolition orders.

Migron Outpost 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Migron Outpost 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
For the first time in seven years, settlers have constructed two new West Bank outposts with utilities, Peace Now charged in a report it released early Wednesday morning.
The first outpost, North Tzofim, is located outside the built up area of the Tzofim settlement in the Samaria region.
The second outpost, Nahlei Tal, is located outside the built up area of the Talmon settlement in the Binyamin Region.
Both outposts are located on state land.
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said she feared that these two new illegal Jewish communities are part of a renewed push by the settlement movement to resume building outposts.
Those efforts have been largely dormant for the last seven years, Ofran said.
During that time, right-wing activists have attempted to build fledgling outposts, out of flimsy construction and without infrastructure.
The IDF often demolishes them, in some instances, dozens of times.
They bear little resemblance to the more than 100 outposts build prior to 2005, mostly under the auspices of local and regional settler councils.
Ofran said she can not prove that the two new outposts Peace Now discovered had the support of local and regional settler councils.
But she alleged that this is the case, because of the type of construction and the infrastructure that now exists.
“It is a lot of money,” she said.
She blamed the construction of the two new outposts on Netanyahu’s policy, declared in March 2011, that the government was looking to legalize unauthorized construction on state land.
The policy has emboldened settlers to build illegally on state land in the West Bank, she said.
“They think that homes on state land won’t be touched,” she said.
A spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed that the two outposts were illegal.
He added that demolition orders had been issued against both outposts two or three weeks ago.
Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said the Peace Now report was “outrageous.”
He rejected Peace Now’s charge that the settler councils were now involved in outpost construction.
Nahlei Tal, Dayan said, was first built when Ehud Olmert was prime minister.
Settlers placed a hut there to protect the vineyards from Palestinian attacks, Dayan said.
Tzofim North, he said, is within the settlement’s municipal boundaries in an area for which there is an approved zoning plan.
Ofran said that it was true that a hut had previously existed in Nahlei Tal. But this has recently been replaced by seven modular homes and one permanent one with electricity and running water, Ofran said.
With respect to Tzofim North, she said, the five modular homes, also with electricity, were illegal because they were had been placed on the newly designed route of the security barrier in that area.
Initially, there were approved plans to build 1,200 homes in that area, she said.
But those plans were shelved after the High Court of Justice declared in 2009 that the security barrier outside of Tzofim was illegal.
The new route now goes through that zone but unbuilt area of Tzofim, where settlers have now placed the new outpost.