Settler leaders deny pending outpost deal

Settlers are unlikely to accept deal by which 21 outposts would be relocated to existing settlements.

Settlement building 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
Settlement building 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Settlers are unlikely to accept a Defense Ministry deal by which 21 outposts would be relocated to existing settlements, the head of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Dani Dayan dismissed a report by Army Radio which said the Defense Ministry wanted to offer such a deal to the settlers. The report came one day after the state confirmed to the High Court of Justice details of a plan to relocate the Migron outpost to the nearby settlement of Adam, located just outside of Jerusalem on the way to Ramallah and in the region of the Binyamin Regional Council. As part of the deal 50 homes would be built for the Migron families in Adam. News of an expanded plan to deal with the outposts comes as Barak was in the United States to speak with US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, who has demanded Israel freeze settlement activity. Israel has balked at ceding to this request but promised the US it would take down 26 unauthorized outposts, which were constructed after March 2001. According to a 2005 report by attorney Talia Sasson, which was accepted by the cabinet, there are some 105 unauthorized outposts that were built between 1991 and 2004. Army Radio on Tuesday morning said the Defense Ministry wants the Migron deal to be a prototype for another 21 settlements, out of the 26. Such a deal would likely involve the construction of hundreds of homes in the settlements. In response to a query from the Post the army radio report was neither confirmed nor denied. Dayan said in the eyes of his council, the Migron deal was unique and could not serve as a prototype. The council agreed to move Migron because it conceded it was very likely built on private Palestinian land. "The majority of the other [21] outposts are on state land, and there is no sense in applying the Migron model," said Dayan. For the last three years the settlers and the government have tried to negotiate an agreement that would deal with all the outposts, and would include in some cases, moving them to nearby settlements. But Dayan said the council at present has refused to talk with the government about the outposts, until the ban on new permits for construction projects in West Bank settlements was lifted. "No matter how tempting an offer might be, as a matter or principle we will not engage in deliberations regarding the outposts, until the freeze [on new construction permits] is lifted," said Dayan. He added that in this case, however, the Defense Ministry had not spoken with them about a deal and that he had heard about it like everyone else on the radio.