Report: Israel plans blitz on outposts

Israel reportedly plans to remove more than 1,000 settlers from illegal West Bank outposts after the High Holy Days.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has drawn up a list of 26 outposts to be dismantled early in the new Jewish year, Ma’ariv reported Sunday – a move that would entail evacuating some 1,200 settlers.

Israeli officials had no immediate comment. Vice Premier Haim Ramon convened a ministerial committee Sunday to discuss the outposts that Israel, under the U.S.-led peace “road map,” is obligated to remove.

A crackdown on outposts ahead of the fall peace conference planned by the Bush administration could be perceived as a good-faith gesture by Israel.

According to independent reports, there are at least 80 outposts in the West Bank. Some are hilltop shacks and others full-fledged communities with roads and electricity. Palestinians, who want all the land for a state, see the outposts as a veiled bid to expand the jurisdiction of settlements recognized by the Israeli government.

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