Republicans in Israel: Extend US pledge not to uproot settlers to outposts

"President Trump has already recognized Israel's legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria," said Marc Zell, who hopes that formalizing outposts will follow.

Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, gives a speech at the Gush Etzion settlement of Sde Boaz, October 22, 2020 (Credit: Land of Israel Caucus)
The United States promise not to evacuate West Bank settlements much including the outposts, the chairman of Republicans Overseas Marc Zell said Thursday during a visit to some of those unauthorized communities organized by the Knesset Land of Israel Caucus.
US President Donald Trump wishes to advance his “Peace to Prosperity” plan, under which no person, not Jew, not Arab, will be uprooted from his or her home and no community will be evacuated,” Zell said.
“I trust that President [Donald] Trump will not object to legalization of the Israeli outposts so that they will have the same status as existing neighborhoods and communities throughout this part of the country and all over Israel, as villages in their own right,” Zell said, as he stood in the Sde Boaz outpost in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank. He wore a suit and a white face mask that said Trump 2020.
The trip came just one day after US Ambassador to the United States David Friedman told a Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem that “The position of the US is that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria will never be evacuated. We will never ask any community in Judea and Samaria to ever disband.”
The nature of his comment was so broad, that it could have been interpreted to also include the outposts, these are some 100 unauthorized small communities whose presence has yet to be legalized by the Israeli government.
Past attempts to pass legislation to authorize them en masse, has never received Knesset approval.
In May 217 the security cabinet formed a committee to regulate the outposts headed by veteran settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein, but his work also never led to a blanket legalization.
The former Bush and Obama administrations had presumed that the outpost would eventually be demolished. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slowly worked to legalized them, by allowing for their authorization as neighborhoods of existing settlements on a case by case basis.
The status of the outposts under the Trump administration has been unclear. Under Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel would eventually be allowed to annex up to 30% of the West Bank. It’s a move that would place all the settlements under Israeli sovereignty.
Settlers are concerned that this annexation plan, does not include the outposts. They have noted that Trump’s annexation map places many of the outpost outside the annexation line.
Now that Israel has agreed to suspend any plans for annexation in exchange for normalization deal with Arab nations, settlers have stepped up their campaign for authorization of the outposts to ensure their inclusion in any sovereignty plan.
Caucus co-chair Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina), who was also participated in the visit, accused the government of dragging its feet when it came to authorizing the outposts.
The caucus plans to advance legislation called “fabric of life” that would regulate the outposts, he said.
Co-chair MK Haim Katz (Likud) said the also hopped that sovereignty would be applied to the settlements soon.
Katz lashed out at the government, of which he is a member, accusing in it abandoning the settlements. “That is why we are here,” Katz said.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Neeman gave the group of parliamentarians, which included former justice minister Ayelet Shaked, a brief over which of the significance of the outpost communities in his region.
Yesha Council CEO Yigal Dilmoni: "The task currently facing the government and the Knesset is practical sovereignty. This means promoting the regulation of all the [Jewish] communities [in Judea and Samaria], approving [settler] construction plans, preserving Area C and preventing the [Palestinian] takeover of land.”