Olmert: Presence of illegal settlement outposts a 'disgrace'

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet on Sunday that it was a "disgrace" Israel hasn't taken action on unauthorized West Bank settlement outposts it has promised to dismantle, a meeting participant said - using that exceptionally harsh language just days after US President George W. Bush told him the outposts "ought to go." Under the US-backed "road map" peace plan of 2003, Israel promised to take down about two dozen of the outposts settlers erected across the West Bank in an attempt to prevent land from being ceded to the Palestinians. The outposts were built without official authorization, but with the tacit or active cooperation of Israeli authorities. At a news conference with Olmert in Jerusalem last week, Bush said that after four years of promises, Israel ought to take action. Israel has repeatedly said it intends to move against the outposts, but no serious action has been taken.