An Israeli government decision regarding the regulation of outposts in Judea and Samaria is expected to be approved Tuesday. According to the details of the anticipated decision, six outposts will be regulated by being establishment as settlements: Avigail, Asael, Avnat, Kedem Arava, Metzoke Deragot, and Tel Zion.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue&White) objected to the move, saying: “No politically irresponsible proposal will come up at the cabinet meeting in such a sensitive period.”
Gantz was referring to three elements that made this “such a sensitive period.” One, the current government is only a caretaker government and therefore may not have the authority to normalize the status of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria; Two, the incoming Joe Biden administration may not favor the move which stabilizes the presence of Jews on lands intended for a Palestinian State; and, Three, should Netanyahu succeed in making these communities permanent, he might also get their votes come the March election, leaving Blue&White and others even further away from a Knesset majority.
In recent months, Yesha Council has been conducting an intensive campaign to regulate the outposts, dubbed “Young Settlements.” Samaria Council Chairman Yossi Dagan, who has been on hunger strike for a week in a protest encampment in front of the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, fainted on Tuesday morning.
Itai Zer, one of the leaders of the Young Settlements, who was on a hunger strike for nine days in the same protest encampment, fainted last Wednesday afternoon and was evacuated by ambulance to Shaare Zedek Hospital where he collapsed in the emergency room. He underwent an EKG test for fear of a heart attack and a lack of phosphorus.
Dagan has been on a hunger strike together with the heads of the settlement enterprise demanding to regulate the Young Settlements in 49 localities numbering about 25,000 people. Eight days ago, Dagan moved his office to the protest encampment and joined the strike.
Netanyahu’s Cabinet plans to instruct the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to conduct a study of regulating additional outposts on state land and present their findings within 30 days. To this end, the Civil Administration will be allocated 5 staff positions in a planning committee, 8 positions in a development unit, and an additional NIS 20 million ($6.184 million) for expenses.
This new draft resolution is expected to be the incarnation of an earlier draft resolution promoted by the Minister of Settlement Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), which listed 46 outposts. According to Haaretz, Defense Minister Gantz’s minions described that original draft resolution as “sloppy.”
The six outposts included in the most recent draft resolution cannot be regulated as neighborhoods of other nearby settlements. Over the years, Israel has regulated many outposts by declaring them neighborhoods of already established communities in terms of planning, because it did not require a government decision. Indeed, just this week, the Civil Administration regulated two outposts – Nofei Nehemia and Havat Yair, as neighborhoods of nearby settlements.