Photo Credit: Yaakov via Wikimedia
Givat Assaf outpost

In recent months, a Defense Ministry team has been working on a secret plan to legalize remote outposts in Judea and Samaria which are currently considered illegal, according to a leak from a closed Habayit Hayehudi meeting in which Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan revealed the plan, Israel’s Channel 12 reported Tuesday night.

“In the past six months, we have established a team of four to five people in the Defense Ministry who have begun to map all the outposts – close to 70 – that are not regulated,” Ben Dahan said.

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“Just last Thursday, we sat for almost three hours and we ranked all of these communities according to how they may be regulated,” he continued.

According to the deputy defense minister, the legal foundation of the new move has to do with the manner by which the same outposts illegal status had been established originally.

“When [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin entered government in 1992, he passed a cabinet decision that says that every settlement that received approval but had not yet been built or regulated – was null and void,” Ben Dahan explained, adding, “If this government decides that it revokes Rabin’s decision, we can regulate a considerable number of settlements.”

As part of the defense ministry’s secret team’s work, its members are preparing an operative plan to regulate these communities. The team members map the communities where they believe it would be easy to implement regulation, and those where they anticipate difficulties.

At the top of the list is the Asa’el outpost in the Mount Hebron Regional Council, where 46 families live. At the bottom of the list are communities such as Avigail in the Mount Hebron Regional Council (25 families), and Givat Harel and Esh Kodesh in Binyamin, with 31 families each.

A senior White House official refused to comment directly on the report, but promised that “once the plan is implemented, we will be able to comment on it.”

Deputy Minister Ben Dahan said in response: “I do not tend to respond to things that are said in an internal discussion of the Knesset faction meeting.”

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