PM leaves W. Bank outpost in place, defying attorney-general
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PM leaves W. Bank outpost in place, defying attorney-general

Netanyahu adopts position of defense minister, who says no need to evacuate Mitzpe Kramim

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

View of the Jewish outpost of Mitzpe Kramim, June 5, 2012. (photo credit: Noam Moskowitz/FLASH90)
View of the Jewish outpost of Mitzpe Kramim, June 5, 2012. (photo credit: Noam Moskowitz/FLASH90)

The government told the High Court on Tuesday that it would not evacuate the residents of a West Bank outpost and demolish their homes.

It was an indication that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted the view of the defense minister and rejected that of the attorney-general, who recommended clearing away the Mitzpe Kramim community.

Although the state’s position enables the residents of the outpost, in the northern West Bank, to remain, it does not yet fully affirm their right to the land, Army Radio reported.

According to the report, at a meeting held in recent weeks, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein recommended that the outpost be demolished within two years, a suggestion strongly opposed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who claims the site was established legally during his tenure as the IDF’s commander of the central region.

The legal proceedings follow a 2011 Palestinian claim to ownership of the land on which the outpost stands, on the outskirts of the Kochav Hashahar settlement.

Mitzpe Kramim was originally set up in 1999 but a year later moved to its current location under the auspices of the government.

Ya’alon, due to his IDF position, was involved in the proceedings and maintains that the outpost received all the legal permits required at the time, the Hebrew-language NRG website reported.

Ya’alon, who has cast doubt on the authenticity of the Palestinian claim of private ownership of the land, has suggested that if it is proved true, the owners should be compensated rather than the Jewish residents removed.

The land ownership petition is being handled by Jerusalem District Court.

West Bank communities set up by Jewish settlers without government authorization, some of them on land claimed by Palestinians, have faced harsh criticism from the international community and from local rights groups.

The government has in the past acted to remove the outposts, some of which have been home to dozens of families.

In December 2014, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis ordered the government to evacuate Amona, the largest outpost in the West Bank.

The verdict was given in response to an appeal submitted by the Palestinians, who said they owned the land seized by settlers to build the outpost.

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