News / Middle East

    Israel to Authorize 4 West Bank Settler Outposts

    A young Jewish settler rides a bicycle in front of the West Bank settlement of Susiya, June 24, 2012.
    A young Jewish settler rides a bicycle in front of the West Bank settlement of Susiya, June 24, 2012.
    Reuters
    Israel plans to declare legal four unauthorized West Bank settler outposts, a court document showed on Thursday, days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry returns to the region to try to restart peace talks.
     
    Israel has been sending mixed signals on its internationally condemned settlement policy as Kerry pursues efforts to revive negotiations Palestinians quit in 2010 in anger over Israeli settlement building on occupied land they seek for a state.
     
    In a reply to a Supreme Court petition by the Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now, the government said it had taken steps in recent weeks to authorize retroactively four West Bank outposts built without official permission.
     
    “The intention to legalize outposts as new settlements is no less than a slap in the face of Secretary Kerry's new process and is blatant reassurance to settler interests,'' Peace Now said in a statement.
     
    A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the government's response to the court.
     
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    Most the world deems all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as illegal. Israel disputes this and distinguishes between about 120 government-authorized settlements and dozens of outposts built by settlers without permission.
     
    Last week, Peace Now and Israeli media reports said Netanyahu has been quietly curbing some settlement activity by freezing tenders for new housing projects, in an apparent effort to help the U.S. drive to renew peace talks.
     
    But Peace Now said at the time construction already under way was continuing, and Israel announced last week that it had given preliminary approval for 300 new homes in Beit El settlement as part of a plan Netanyahu announced a year ago.
     
    Kerry, due to meet Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas separately next week, has said he believes “the parties are serious'' about finding a way back into talks.
     
    The main issues that would have to be resolved in a peace agreement include the borders between Israel and a Palestinian state, the future of Jewish settlements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
     
    Some 500,000 Israelis have settled in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which was also captured from Jordan in 1967. About 2.7 million Palestinians live in those areas.

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    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    May 16, 2013 2:09 PM
    Does Israel really have a right to call any place its own? Was Israel born in the air? Has Israel been dropped from space? Every time I hear or read about Palestinians laying claim to the land as theirs and Israel as settlers, it fags me. Now you clearly state here that Israel captured a land from Jordan. It is not Jordan that is asking for the land, it is an unknown Palestine that lays claim to it. And the world rallies around it to say Israel has annexed a land. Has the world gone crazy just because it is jealous and wants to deny the God of Israel? Well, Israel is not about to relinquish any piece of land to anyone - this is my opinion. If the Palestinians have to wait for Israel to stop all rehabilitation activities before they negotiate their state, then the end is not in sight and another war will have to be fought to resolve it. It will be a-winner-takes-it-all war. But of certainty is that that war will not be fought in Palestine alone, but in every country all over the world where God reigns and where Israel has an iota of support. The Middle East will only be an inspiration. So let the Palestinians sulk and whine, the reality will be what it will be. My Father Owns The Land.

    by: Stephan from: UK
    May 16, 2013 9:10 AM
    God Bless you Israel - its your country - build it!! the Arabs have Jordan... let them go to Jordan.

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