Israeli daily, Ynetnews, reported that the Israeli government informed the Supreme Court that it is examining the legalization of four illegal settlement outposts, built on privately owned Palestinian lands.In 2003, the court ordered the removal of the four outposts, but the Israeli government did implement the ruling.
According to Ynetnews, Israel is weighing the possibility of avoiding the removal of the outposts, and claimed that Givat Asaf outpost, one of the four outposts, is mainly built on ‘purchased’ lands. Givat Asaf should have been evacuated a year ago.
It said that procedures for the official approval of the transactions have already begun an issue that prevented its evacuation.
The Ynet added that Israel would also be examining the legalization of Mitzpe Lachish, Givat Haroeh and Ma’ale Rehavam.
Back in 2007, Israel’s Peace Now Movement headed to the Supreme Court asking for an order that obliges the army to dismantle the outposts, but the Israeli government kept changing its official stances during numerous court sessions.
The Israeli Government of Benjamin Netanyahu even said that “structures, built on private Palestinian lands, will be removed”, but the outposts stayed.
The Israeli government decided to legalize Givat Asaf, completely built on Palestinian lands near Ramallah, in addition to the illegal outposts of Mitzpe Lachish, Givat Haroeh and Ma’ale Rehav’am.
Peace Now said that lawyers Michael Sfarad and Shlomi Zachariah, who filed the appeal against the outposts on behalf of the movement, demanded Israel to implement the evacuation ruling.
In its petition, Peace Now said that the Israeli decision is “a slap to the efforts of U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry” who will be visiting the region next week in an attempt to revive the political process between Israel and the Palestinians.
It added that Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, is protecting the outposts and asking for their legalization instead of their removal, and added that Israel will be paying the economic and political price for its decision.
It is worth mentioning that Kerry will be arriving in the region next week, and plans to hold separate meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
According to Ynet, a diplomatic source said that the efforts of Kerry could lead to resuming peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians next month.
It added that Israel granted the U.S. a list of steps its willing to make, including freezing or slowing down settlement construction activities.