Government to target illegal outposts

Defense Ministry to finish mapping illegal W. Bank outposts within 4 months.

outpost, flag 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
outpost, flag 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Defense Ministry will complete in the coming months a detailed plan for the removal of illegal outposts in the West Bank, the state told the High Court of Justice in response to a petition by the Peace Now movement. The response stated that in order to speed up the process, the state will streamline the bureaucratic procedures for issuing demolition orders, Army Radio reported.
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Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer said in response on Monday morning that the ministry's statement constituted a change in policy. "The Ministry of Defense is saying for the first time that it seriously intends to remove the outposts. The only thing missing in this announcement is a target date for the dismantlement, particularly as regards the two outposts we petitioned against." Peace Now's petition forced the State Attorney's Office to explain to the High Court why 102 other illegal outposts in the West Bank were not being dismantled. According to the state attorney's answer, the Ministry of Defense was mapping out the illegal construction in the territories, a process expected to be completed within four months. According to the state's response, Defense Ministry personnel were expected to recommend to Israel's political leadership that enforcement activities in the initial stages focus on new illegal construction and outposts built on private Palestinian land. A list of illegal outposts was presented to the cabinet over a year ago in a report written by Adv. Talia Sasson. In the months following the report's publication, the government failed to remove the outposts, with additional outposts being established throughout the year. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has announced repeatedly in connection with the illegal outposts that he would act to enforce the law.