Ministers authorize three West Bank outposts

Ministers authorize three West Bank outposts

Government will petition the High Court of Justice to postpone the evacuation of Givat Ulpana

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

A flag hangs near a house in the settlement of Bruchin (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
A flag hangs near a house in the settlement of Bruchin (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

A ministerial committee on Monday night authorized the three West Bank outposts of Bruchin, Sansana, and Rechelim.

“These communities were founded in the 1990s based on the decisions of past governments,” said a statement issued by the panel of ministers, which was formed Sunday.

Serving alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the committee were Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon and Minister without portfolio Benny Begin.

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Bruchin and Rechelim, comprised of approximately 60 and 45 families respectively, are located in the Samarian Hills north of Jerusalem. Sansana, located in the Hebron Hills, is home to about 50 families. The majority of residents in all three communities are religious and relatively young.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai commended the outposts’ authorization and called it “an important and just decision in all aspects, including legal.”

Meretz chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On responded to the decision saying that the Israeli government is leading to the establishment of a single, binational state.

“Establishing new settlements and keeping illegal outposts on their hilltops violates Israel’s international obligations and signifies the government’s commitment to conflict, not resolution,” she said.

At a later meeting Monday night, members of the committee were joined by ministers Gideon Sa’ar, Yuval Steinitz, Dan Meridor and Israel Katz to discuss the Givat Ulpana neighborhood, which is slated for evacuation next week, in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

The ministers decided to instruct the State Prosecutor to petition the High Court of Justice for a postponement of the scheduled evacuation. The  Court had previously ruled that Givat Ulpana must be vacated by May 1, having determined that the neighborhood was built on private Palestinian land.

The international community views all settlements and outposts in the West Bank as illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes that categorization.

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