Ramon: Crack down on outposts


Ehud Olmert’s senior deputy deplored Israel’s failure to dismantle West Bank settler outposts.

“Unfortunately, we are not meeting our commitments, and this hurts us internationally and compromises our ability to continue with negotiations,” Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon told Israel Radio on Saturday.

The U.S.-sponsored “road map” to peace with the Palestinians requires that Israel raze all outposts erected without state permission since March 2001, but the Olmert government, like its predecessor, has yet to mount a comprehensive crackdown.

Ramon called for Jerusalem to take a stand on the issue within a week or two.

The fact we are not doing this harms and overcasts our relationship with the United States,” he said.

Israel’s performance in peace talks has come under intense scrutiny recently from the Bush administration, which wants Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to secure an accord by year’s end.

The road map also requires the Palestinian Authority to dismantle terrorist groups, which the Abbas government has failed to accomplish.

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