Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Emile Salman, Jini

PM says will not green-light new settlements

Nevertheless, Netanyahu says government will accommodate natural population growth in West Bank communities

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the issue of illegal outposts in the West Bank Sunday and said that "while we will not authorize the construction of new settlements, it would be unfair not to accommodate natural (population) growth."


Much of Sunday's cabinet meeting focused on the issue of evacuating illegal outposts, as many of the ministers were embittered by Defense Minister Ehud Barak's recent comments about the need to evacuate outposts, "Either through dialogue or by force."


Settler leaders vowed Sunday to continue building new outposts: If the government continues to take aggressive, one-sided steps, it will also be responsible for the dire consequences," head of the Yesha Council, Danny Dayan said.


Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that the government's agenda "must not appear to be persecuting settlers… There are three important things regarding the outposts: Upholding Israeli law, international commitments, especially once made to the US, and the need to preserve the settlement movement.


Katz urged Barak to come up with a plan regulating and legalizing outposts.


"The Sasson Committee, under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, pledged to the US administration that all illegal outposts will be evacuated," said Barak.


"This issue is not between us and the Americans, or between us and the Palestinians. This is an internal matter, a matter of the rule of law and the country's authority over its citizens… We have 22 outposts that we need to deal with, in the most proper and responsible way.


"We will exhaust all dialogue possibilities, but if that proves futile we will act unilaterally," he added.


פרסום ראשון: 05.24.09, 15:25
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