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The following is the first phase of a project aimed at helping monitor outposts and clarify the potential difficulty in countering them for the sake of peace. The data is based in large part on extensive research conducted over years by the Peace Now organization, augmented with and cross-referenced by information from settlers and Haaretz correspondents.

The accompanying map of outposts is under construction. It is, as is the lists of outposts below - and the outposts themselves - a work in progress.

The public will be invited to assist this project. Information on new outposts, or changes in existing outposts, is welcome via the Talkback feature.

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Of the long list of hackneyed pro-Israel arguments which persuade no one except previously and permanently persuaded fellow-Israelis, none tops the tired clunker trotted out by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in his U.S. visit to Washington this month.

Settlements in the West Bank, he told reporters after talks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, are "not an obstacle to achieve peace."

Permit me at this point to save some time, and to speak candidly. Everyone - and I do mean everyone, whether they are willing to publicly acknowledge this or not - knows that obstacles are precisely what West Bank settlements were put there to be.

Settlements, whether considered legal or illegal, whether granted overt or blind-eye Israeli government sanction, or placed there by unruly-eyed fanatics who hate the Israeli government almost as much as they hate Arabs, have a common goal.

They were built to be explicit, intentional, physical, literal obstacles to any peace process that would include ceding West Bank land to Palestinians. And that, everyone knows, describes any conceivable future peace process.

Yes, they are also a place to live. And yes, the land they occupy may well be mentioned in the bible, even scores of times. And yes, generations of Jews have now been born and raised there. But this last only underscores the reason they are there.

It should be noted that at this point, there are in fact three distinct classes of West Bank settlements. The first are the government-approved enclaves on the "Israel side" of the West Bank barrier. Under a future peace deal, these are expected to be annexed to Israel, with an acreage-equivalent swath of the western Negev appended to an independent Palestine.

The second class, in every sense, are government-authorized settlements scattered across the West Bank, on the "Palestinian-side" of the fence/wall.

Finally, there are the outpost settlements, which Israel and even elements of the settler movement concede are illegal.

If the settlements are obstacles, the outposts are designed to be landmines. They are volatile, potentially explosive, often vaguely marked and defined.

They defend established settlements by creating a protective outer ring of obstructions to be cleared prior to any move to raze the older, larger, more solidly built enclaves.

And if Barack Obama and, for that matter, Benjamin Netanyahu, make any substantive moves toward Mideast peace, the number of these minefields is certain to mushroom.


View Outpost watch in a larger map

With thanks to Adam Abrams

The current list:

1.ADEI AD 2.AHAVAT HAIM 3.AHIYA 4.ALONEI SHILO, OR NOF KANEH FARM 5.ALTITUDE 468, or, NOFEI PRAT WEST. 6.AMONA7.ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE OF SUSYA8.ASA'EL9.AVIGAIL10.BAT AYIN EAST11.BAT AYIN WEST12.BEIT EL EAST13.BNEI ADAM, OR ADAM EAST14.BRACHA A15.BRUCHIN16.DERECH HA'AVOT17.EIN PRAT18.ELISHA, OR TZOFIT [PRE-IDF SERVICE ACADEMY]19. ELMATAN20.ESH KODESH21.GILAD FARM22.GIVAT ASSAF23.GIVAT HADAGAN24. GIVAT HADEGEL25.GIVAT HAHISH26.GIVAT HAREL27.GIVAT HATAMAR28.GIVAT SALIT29.GVA'OT OLAM30.HABAYIT HA'ADOM, OR HADA'AT FARM31.HAHAR32.HAKARON33.HANEKUDA34.HAR HEMED35.HARESHA36.HARO'EH, OR ELI 76237.HAYOVEL38.HERUTI39.HILL 26, OR KARMEI NETANEL40.HILL 72541.HILL 77742.HILL 78243.HILL 83644.HILL 85145.HORESH YARON46.IBEI HANAHAL47.JABEL ARITIS, OR ALT. 90948.KARMEI DORON, OR EINAV NORTHEAST49.KFAR TAPUAH WEST50.KIDA, OR ADEI AD NORTH51.KOCHAV YAAKOV EAST52.KOCHAV YAAKOV WEST53.LEHAVAT YITZHAR54.MAALEH EFRAIM [PRE-IDF SERVICE ACADEMY]55.MAALEH HAGIT56.MAALEH ISRAEL57.MAALEH REHAVAM58.MAALEH SHLOMO59.MAAVAR MICHMASH, OR MIGRON SOUTH60.MAGEN DAN61.MAON FARM, OR HILL 83362.MAOZ ZVI63.MAROM AYALON, OR MEVO HORON NORTH64.MEVO'OT JERICHO65.MIGRON66.MISHPATEI ARETZ, OR BEIT HAGDUD [YESHIVA]67.MITZPEH DANNY68.MITZPEH ESHTAMOA, OR SHIM'A NORTH69.MITZPEH HA'AI70.MITZPEH JERICHO NORTHEAST71.MITZPEH KRAMIM 72.MITZPEH LACHISH73.MITZPEH YAIR, OR MAGEN DAVID74.MITZPEH YITZHAR75.MOR FARM76.MUL NEVO77.NEVE DANIEL NORTH, OR SDE BO'AZ78.NEVE EREZ79.NOF HARIM80.NOF NESHER, OR LUCIFER FARM81.NOFEI NEHEMIA82.OFRA NORTHEAST83.OLD MASSUOT YITZHAK84.OMER FARM, OR EINOT KEDEM85.PALGEI HAMAYIM, OR HIRBET A-SHUNA86.PNEI KEDEM87.RAMAT GILAD88.RACHELIM SOUTH89.SDE BAR FARM, OR KFAR ELDAD90.SDE KALEV, OR KIRYAT ARBA SOUTH91.SHALHEVET FARM, OR YITZHAR WEST92.SKALI'S FARM, OR POINT 79293.SNEH YAAKOV94.SUSYA NORTHWEST, OR RUJUM El CHAMRI95.TEKOA B AND C96.TEKOA D97.TZUR SHALEM98.YAIR FARM99.YATIR SOUTHWEST100.ZAIT RAANAN

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