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PM sets up new panel to legalize outposts on state land (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 04/22/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=267077 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday set up a small ministerial panel with the authority to legalize unauthorized West Bank outposts on state land.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the panel is designed and has the authority to legalize three outposts in the West Bank: Rechelim, Bruchin and Sansana.

In all three cases, according to the Prime Ministers Office, the government made initial decisions to authorize the three communities as legal settlements over a decade ago, but technical issues prevented their legalization.

The panel will now resolve those issues and then legalize the three outposts. It was created in lieu of Netanyahu’s promise to bring the issue to the government for approval.

Israeli officials have explained that authorizing these three outposts is in keeping with Israel’s pledge not to create new settlements, because these fledgling Jewish communities were created prior to that pledge.

Israeli officials insisted that the panel was formed to solely deal with the issues relating to Bruchin, Rechelim and Sansana.

But the panel’s technical mandate is broader. It speaks of legalizing settlements that are now unauthorized outposts, and which were constructed years ago on state-land with state funds and/or with initial agreements from state bodies.

A number of unauthorized outposts included in the 2005 report for the government by Talia Sasson fit the criteria set out by the new ministerial outpost panel´s mandate.

Its work differs from that of the outpost committee created earlier this year, which is headed by Judge Edmund Levy. That committee is charged with examining the legal issues regarding the outposts.

The new panel is charged with resolving the issues. Its members will include Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon and Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said that he hoped the panel would move quickly to authorize Bruchin, Rechelim and Sansana, possibly in the coming days.

"We are obliged to bring clarity for the wonderful young families [in these communities] that could not define their future for years," he said. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/22/12)

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