Sasson slams government over outposts

Attorney says "not a single outpost has been taken down" since her report was issued three years ago.

talia sasson 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
talia sasson 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Attorney Talia Sasson blasted the government on Sunday for its failure to remove any of the 105 unauthorized West Bank outposts in the three years that have passed since the cabinet accepted her report on the matter. "Not a single outpost has been taken down," she said at a conference in Tel Aviv sponsored by the Geneva Initiative. Even worse, she added, was that in the interim, the population in the outposts has grown. Sasson spoke of her government-commissioned work in 2005 to investigate the status of the fledgling hilltop communities that have sprung up in the West Bank since the mid-1990s. The submission of her report was followed by a cabinet vote in March 2005 to remove 24 of the outposts and a pledge to the United States to make good on that vote. In particular, the government has listed for removal some of the outposts constructed after former prime minister Ariel Sharon took office in March 2001, but has yet to act against them. It did remove nine permanent homes at the Amona outpost. The clashes that ensued between security forces and right-wing protesters made international headlines, but the outpost itself, with some 35 families, still stands. "The government has failed to live up to its promises," said Sasson, even though outpost removal is consistent with government policy. Sasson also spoke out against the work of the outpost committee chaired by Vice Premier Haim Ramon, as well as the negotiations that have been going on for the last two years between the government and the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The settlers and the government have worked toward a deal to legalize some of the outposts and remove others to areas with settlement blocs that would likely be retained during a final status agreement with the Palestinians. Sasson said the government should not be deterred by threats of violence from the settlers in the event of future evacuation. Giving in to such threats, Sasson said, undermines the rule of law and order in Israeli society. "This should be a nation of laws," she said.