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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Palestine | International
Israeli Settler Outposts Grow With Govt Aid
GAZA, 9 March 2005 — Jewish settler outposts have spread in the West Bank with state funding despite Israel’s pledge to remove them under a US-backed peace plan.
The Maariv daily yesterday quoted a report commissioned by Israel’s government as saying: “It seems as if blatant violations of the law have become institutional and institutionalized... that no ones seriously intends to enforce (it).” Settler leaders said the reported findings of the study will be released today. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s aides declined comment, but a news conference on the report is to be held in Sharon’s office today.
The study by a former chief state prosecutor detailed involvement by the Housing Ministry, Israel’s immigrant agency and the army in providing funds and infrastructure needed to erect settler outposts, some on Palestinian private property.
“The process of outpost expansion is profoundly under way,” the report said.
The settlement outposts dotting the West Bank are seen as seeds of larger communities, in violation of assurances by successive Israeli governments that they would not build new settlements. Locations were often chosen to break up contiguity of Palestinian areas and prevent the establishment of a future Palestinian state.
Zvi Hendel, a settler leader, said various government ministries and agencies had cooperated over the years in setting up outposts. He told Israel Radio that the Israeli military administration in the West Bank provided the lands, the Housing Ministry bought mobile homes, Defense Ministry officials gave permits for trailers to be moved from place to place, (and) the army provided security for the setters.
“You know well when a state doesn’t want something to happen it doesn’t happen — and certainly when the land is in control of the military and when a state allows for things to happen, then they happen,” Hendel said.
Hendel, a legislator, said the support for the outposts extended to the highest levels of government. Outposts began springing up in1993 , as a protest against an interim peace deal with the Palestinians.
“All the defense ministers... were part of the secret,” he said. “You can’t do it without the defense minister, you can’t move mobile homes, you can’t move a nail in the West Bank without the army’s agreement. So let’s not fool ourselves.”
— Additional input from agencies