Barak: We have to act against illegal building

PM says special committee to be led by defense minister which will consolidate gov't position on unauthorized outposts.

Barak with soldier in background 311 (photo credit: Linui Alihi, Defense Ministry)
Barak with soldier in background 311
(photo credit: Linui Alihi, Defense Ministry)
Security forces have to act against illegal construction, particularly when it takes place on private Palestinian land in the West Bank, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday during a tour of the South.
He was speaking the morning after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu created a special committee to be led by the defense minister that will consolidate the government’s position on unauthorized outposts, including those built on private Palestinian land. This will assist the state in answering legal petitions now under debate before the High Court of Justice concerning some outposts.
Other members of the committee will include Minister- without-Portfolio Benny Begin and Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon, both of the Likud, and Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, coordinator of government activities in the territories.
Speaking in the South, Barak said the government also had to consider issues relating to legalized settlements. There are more than 250,000 Israelis who live in legal West Bank settlements; most moved there with the permission and blessing of past Israeli governments.
Barak added that there are issues of development and concrete human needs that should be dealt with in a fair and appropriate manner within the settlement blocs, but also within isolated settlements. Settlers have held Barak responsible for a lack of new building permits in Judea and Samaria communities.
On Monday, Netanyahu chastised settlers for seeking new building permits and argued that their focus should be on preserving what they have rather than pushing to expand.