Settlement minister says PM has agreed to move to legalize West Bank outposts

Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi says he has agreed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to present a plan in the coming weeks to legalize West Bank outposts.

“We agreed to draft a resolution for the cabinet to advance all legal actions to authorize [outposts],” Hanegbi says.

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett says this would be a “historic” achievement, but stresses that “the only test will be in the implementation.”

Tzachi Hanegbi attends a Conference of the ‘Besheva’ group in Kedem, in the West Bank, on September 5, 2019. (Hillel Maeir/ Flash90)

His deputy Bezalel Smotrich says he too hopes that this will not “a meaningless declaration.” He adds: “Twenty thousand [outpost] residents are not second-class citizens and deserve to have equal rights.”

With US President Donald Trump set to leave office in January, Netanyahu has faced pressure to take advantage of the outgoing administration’s goodwill toward settlements to authorize illegal outposts.