The right-wing led government of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been seeking the approval of the Israeli Supreme Court in order to expand more than 40 settlements build on privately-owned Palestinian lands in the West Bank.The government is also seeking the legalization of all existing constructions that were conducted on lands that Israel illegally annexed from the Palestinians under “military and security considerations”.

Haaretz said that the response that the government provided to the Supreme Court regarding the outposts indicates that the government is leaning towards “legalizing” the illegal constructions.

The response came after the Supreme Court received an appeal on the issue filed by the Yesh Din organization. (Volunteers for Human Rights, an Israeli human rights organization working to achieve long-term structural improvement in the human rights).

Yesh Din is demanding the government to implement the Supreme Court ruling that calls for demolishing all illegal structures built settlers in Beit El settlement, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Haaretz said that the Israeli government officially recognizes the fact that approximately 40 settlements built in the occupied territories were partially, and in many cases completely, built on private Palestinian lands.

The lands were first taken away from the residents under “military orders” issued by the Israeli army, and then were used for the construction and expansion of illegal settlements.

The court also recognizes the fact that the constructions continued in these settlements even after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that settlement construction on privately-owned Palestinian lands that were confiscated for military purposes, is illegal. The Court said that Israel must only build settlements on lands that are considered state property.

Israel’s Legal Councilor also recognized, in an internal document, that there are 44 Israeli settlements that were either completely or partially built on privately-owned Palestinian lands, this includes the settlements of Ariel, Bet El, Efrat, Keryat Arba’, and Israel’s settlements in the Jordan valley.

Settlements are illegal under International Law, Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement construction and expansion activities were among the reasons that pushed the Palestinian Authority (P.A) to quit direct peace talks with Tel Aviv.