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Israel to remove largest settler outpost by August (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 01/23/08 5:05 PM ET) Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080123/wl_mideast_afp/mideastconflictisraelsettlerwildcat_080123220502;_ylt=At.Vsm0wvuiawP3BxQ8LCVGaOrgF
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JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli leaders have ordered the dismantling of the largest wildcat Jewish settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank by August, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
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Law officers have communicated the decision to the supreme court, which had received petitions for the eviction of the settlers from both the Palestinian landowners and Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now.
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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak hope that the 40 or so families who have installed themselves in the Migron outpost near Ramallah would agree to voluntary relocation to another site in the occupied West Bank that had been earmarked as an industrial zone, the source added.
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The Shaar Binyamin site, which currently houses just a garage and supermarket, is just two kilometres (little more than a mile) from the Migron outpost.
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Migron is the largest of some 100 wildcat settlement outposts dotted around the occupied West Bank that were erected without Israeli government authorisation.
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Most consist of just a few trailers but Migron has several houses, dozens of mobile homes, a synagogue, a ritual bath, a kindergarten and greenhouses.
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The international community regards all settlements in the occupied West Bank as illegal, regardless of whether they were built with Israeli authorisation.
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But Washington has put particular pressure on Israel to dismantle the wildcat outposts and former prime minister Ariel Sharon pledged to remove the 56 of them that were erected after he took power in March 2001.
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During a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this month, the current prime minister renewed the pledge.
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"The fact that the illegal outposts are still standing despite a decision to remove them by two governments is a disgrace and intolerable," Olmert later told cabinet members from his own centrist Kadima party.
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The defence minister has said that he has reached agreement with settler leaders for the voluntary evacuation of 18 of the wildcat outposts. (Copyright © 2008 Agence France Presse 01/23/08)
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