The cabinet on Sunday appointed Justice Minister Haim Ramon to head a ministerial committee aimed at implementing some of the recommendations made by Attorney Talia Sasson to prevent the establishment of new illegal outposts
"Some of the recommendations were not implemented," Ramon told The Jerusalem Post
. "Some of the problems that made it possible to establish and solidify the illegal outposts had to do with government conduct and problematic laws."
Ramon clarified that the committee would not deal with the evacuation of illegal outposts. That, he explained, was the responsibility of Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Ramon's committee is actually the revival of a committee headed by then-justice minister Tzipi Livni after Sasson submitted her comprehensive report
on illegal outposts on March 9, 2005, at the request of prime minister Ariel Sharon.
Sasson found that there were at least 105 illegal outposts. Of these, only 26 were built entirely on state land, 15 were built on privately owned Palestinian land and the rest were built on land whose ownership status was unclear. She also found that government ministries and other bodies had worked together to fund the illegal outposts, provide land, build housing and public buildings and provide roads, electricity and water.
Ramon told the Post that much of the government support for the illegal outposts has continued since Sasson's report was published.
Four days after it was released, on March 13, the cabinet endorsed the Sasson report's findings and appointed a ministerial committee headed by Livni to determine how to implement them. Some of the findings were handed over to the Defense Ministry since they involved changes in the application of military law in the West Bank. Sharon originally gave Livni 90 days to complete her assignment, but later extended the deadline to August. However, the matter was eventually shelved because of the Gaza disengagement and the committee later evaporated as political parties, including the Labor Party, abandoned the coalition.
On December 6, 2005, Sasson told the Post that the committee had made no recommendations. "What was supposed to happen did not happen," she said.
Now, it has been reestablished under Ramon who said it would "have to change the law and ministry regulations to prevent the transfer of more funds to illegal outposts."
He cited the example of a Jordanian law which applies to the settlers in the West Bank. According to the law, police must serve a demolition order in person to the person responsible for an illegal structure. Ramon said that in the case of the illegal outposts, it was often very difficult to know to whom or how to deliver the eviction notice.
Other members of the ministerial committee include Livni, Peretz, and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter.