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Israel Plans to Remove 26 Settlement Outposts in West Bank


Israel appears to be responding to American pressure to curb settlement activity. But implementation could be difficult.

Israel's new right-wing government says it plans to remove 26 illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank.

"It is clear that this government will not allow illegal settlement activity," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon told Israel's Channel 2 Television. He said Israel is a state of law.

The declaration came several days after a White House summit, where U.S. President Barack Obama urged hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to crack down on settlement activity.

"We have to make progress on settlements; settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward," said Mr. Obama.

Right-wing Israeli parliamentarian Arieh Eldad says Mr. Netanyahu has a mandate to expand settlements, but he is caving in to U.S. pressure.

"The government of Netanyahu should understand Jews are allowed to live everywhere in their homeland, in the Land of Israel," he said.

There are about 100 illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank, which Israel is required to dismantle under the internationally-backed "roadmap" peace plan. But doing that is easier said than done. The Israeli army tore down one outpost on Thursday, but settlers returned the next day to rebuild.

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