PM denies request to remove outposts

Peretz asks for the removal of three or four small West Bank trailers.

peace now 298 (photo credit: Blake-Ezra Cole)
peace now 298
(photo credit: Blake-Ezra Cole)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has turned down a request by his Defense Minister Amir Peretez to dismantle a number of unauthorized West Bank settlement outposts, saying the issue should be addressed by a comprehensive plan, defense officials said Monday. According to the officials, the proposal was made in talks between the two men on Sunday and was not a formal Cabinet motion. Olmert's office declined comment. Peretz had asked for the removal of three or four small outposts, comprising a few trailers. Under the internationally backed "road map" peace plan, Israel has promised to dismantle unauthorized outposts built since 2001. The Cabinet has debated the matter several times, but has done little to remove the West Bank outposts. Nearly 244,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, including several thousand people living in outposts. In the summer of 2005, Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, uprooting all 8,500 settlers living in the coastal area.