'State wants to authorize 11 W. Bank outposts'

Peace Now's 2011 data shows 100 illegal housing starts and 71 new caravans in fledgling communities.

Migron outpost aerial_311 (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
Migron outpost aerial_311
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
The state is looking to authorize 11 outposts, Peace Now charged on Tuesday, adding that such a move would run counter to Israel’s pledge to the international community not to create new settlements.
“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government has revealed its true face, which is to establish new settlements,” Hagit Ofran of Peace Now told The Jerusalem Post. She spoke with the Post after a Peace Now press conference in Jerusalem.
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The organization presented a report with new information it had compiled regarding the scope of Israeli activity in West Bank settlements and outposts, as well as Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
The report said that in 2011 work began on 100 illegal permanent homes in 45 outposts and 71 new caravans were placed in some fledgling hilltop communities. There are approximately 100 West Bank outposts.
The report noted that the state wanted to authorize the fledgling hilltop communities, despite petitions that sought the demolition of 11 outposts before the High Court of Justice .
The 11 outposts were constructed on state land, but without proper permits.
Three of the outposts, Givat Ha-Roeh, Ma’aleh Rehavam, and Mitzpe Lachish, were on a list of 24 outposts constructed after March 2001, which past governments promised the United States would be demolished.
But soon after taking office, Netanyahu indicated that his policy toward the outposts would differ from the government of former prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who had looked to remove the outposts.
But in 2011, his policy was clearly articulated when the state told the court that the government’s policy was to remove outposts on private Palestinian property and to weigh authorization of outposts constructed on state land.
In response to the report, the prime minister’s office said “the position of the state has been presented clearly and publically before the Supreme Court.”
The Peace Now data comes as settlers and right wing politicians are pushing the government to authorize outposts, including those built on private Palestinian property.
On almost a weekly basis, lawmakers have presented the Ministerial Committee on Legislation with bills that seek to legalize the outposts. The Committee has rejected or deferred all such proposals.
Pressure to come up with a solution is acute because the High Court of Justice has ordered the demolition of the Migron outpost by the end of March 2012. Three homes in the outpost were forcibly razed in September.
The state also destroyed a home and a chicken coop in the Mitzpe Yitzhar outpost in December.
In both instances, the state said that the homes were built on private Palestinian property.
In addition, the state promised the High Court of Justice that this year it would destroy three other outposts with a similar classification: Givat Assaf by the end of June, and Amona and the Ulpana by the end of December.
During Netanyahu’s tenure, the IDF and the Border Police have not undertaken any major action against the outposts that were constructed prior to 2005. They have been vigilant in destroying temporary structures in outposts constructed in the last six years.
In a pre-dawn Monday raid, the IDF and the border police destroyed one such illegal home in the Gal Aryeh outpost.
Settlers charged that the security forces failed to remove a Torah scroll from the structure before razing it.
They provided a photograph of the scroll on the ground amidst the ruins of the structure.
A security source said the story was false and that all personal items had been removed from the structure before the raid.