PM: Illegal outposts 'a disgrace'

Tells Kadima ministers Bush promised Gaza will be part of peace deal; reiterates road map's importance.

gaza 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
gaza 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Kadima ministers 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. Separately, during Sunday's cabinet meeting, Olmert said Bush assured him that Gaza would have to be part of any future peace deal with the Palestinians. "He repeated the absolute commitment of the US that no agreement between us and the Palestinians can be implemented on the ground before the full implementation of the road map, both in Gaza and in the West Bank," Olmert said. The road map explicitly requires the Palestinians to crack down on anti-Israel terror. During his first-ever visit to the West Bank last week, Bush acknowledged that "Gaza is a tough situation. I don't know whether you can solve it in a year or not."