Raze illegal outposts, Israeli Cabinet orders


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet has ordered the demolition of all illegal West Bank outposts built on private Palestinian land by the end of the year.

Monday’s decision, echoing one announced earlier this month, comes in response to a petition submitted by Peace Now to the Supreme Court calling for the demolition of six outposts: Ramat Gilad, Mitzpe Yitzhar, Givat Har’eh, Givat Asaf, Ma’aleh Rehavam and Mitzpeh Lachish.

According to the document submitted Monday by the Cabinet to Israel’s Supreme Court, the state will raze 47 homes in five of the outposts. Mitzpe Lachish is located on state land and Givat Assaf is built on Palestinian land. The other four outposts are built both on Palestinian and state land.

The decision exempts the home of slain Israeli soldier Eliraz Peretz, who was killed in Gaza more than a year ago.

The decision comes a week after Israeli troops and settlers clashed during and after the demolition of three structures on the Gilad Farm outpost.

Peace Now says that 64 other outposts are partially or fully built on private Palestinian land.

Danny Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council, a settlers’ umbrella group, called Monday’s announcement "an act of provocation that will only serve to incite and anger while serving no practical purpose in bettering relations with our Arab neighbors."

"This is a situation which can be addressed through negotiations and solved amicably rather than through this  provocative approach being proposed by the government," Dayan said of the outposts on Palestinian-owned land. "We would implore the prime minister and his government to act sensibly and place the Israeli people’s interests before the constantly changing whims of the international community and a handful of Peace Now activists."

Also Monday, nine Palestinians were reported injured after Israeli soldiers fired on Palestinian villagers during clashes with Jewish settlers near Nablus. One Israeli also was hurt after being hit in the head with a rock, according to reports.

Soldiers said they opened fire because they felt threatened by the Palestinians, according to Haaretz.

Palestinians say the clashes began after a group of settlers cut down a field of olive trees. Settlers say Palestinians armed with knives attacked them at the Eli Ayin outpost near the Shiloh settlement. 

The Israeli military is investigating the use of live ammunition.

Meanwhile, the structures demolished at Gilad Farm have been rebuilt and four new structures are being set up, Ynet reported.

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