Yesha: Outpost decision 'collective punishment'

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip (Yesha) published a response on Friday to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz' decision to evacuate three illegal outposts in the West Bank because of intelligence pointing to a connection between these outposts and the recent destruction of Palestinians' olive trees. Yesha's response stated that "to uproot three outposts merely because of their geographic proximity to the places where olive trees were destroyed" was scandalous and characterized the move as "collective punishment." The response further argued that "the security establishment would never think of destroying a Palestinian village, even if it were home to murders and terrorists and there was confirmed intelligence that hostile activities were taking place there." Yesha head Benzi Lieberman called on the government to make sure that the conflict over illegal outposts was settled bilaterally. Lieberman told Army Radio that the government should meet with the settlers in order to solve the problem. "I think it's time to move past the illegal outposts," he said. "What can be legitimized, will, and what can't - we as settlers need to understand that."