Netanyahu Still Wary of Razing Six West Bank Outposts Slated for Demolition in 2004

High Court to deliberate state refusal to raze six West Bank outposts; Netanyahu: Demolition carries political implication.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that his cabinet needed more time to decide when and how to dismantle certain illegal West Bank outposts, due to the "political implications" involved.

The government "needs time to consider its priorities" with regard to these outposts, Netanyahu said ahead of a High Court of Justice deliberation on the matter.

Israeli settler outpost in the West Bank.Credit: AP

The court last year ordered the state to explain why it had not evacuated six illegal West Bank outposts - Givat Assaf, Ma'aleh Rehavam, Givat Haroeh, Mitzpeh Yitzhar and Mitzpeh Lachish - that were slated for evacuation in 2004.

In 2006, Peace Now petitioned the court to force the Israel Defense Forces to carry out orders given in 2004 by the then defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, which enabled the evacuation of the six sites.
Mofaz's successor in the post, Amir Peretz, extended the validity of the orders to last a further two years shortly after the petition was submitted.

Peace Now petitioned the court again at the end of 2007, when it had become clear that the defense establishment had no intention of carrying out the orders. Following that petition, Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced in 2008 he was extending the orders' validity for a further year. He said this was in order to reach an agreement with settler leaders.

Prosecutors announced during a High Court hearing in May 2009 that the orders would be extended for yet another year. Now, following the end of the temporary settlement freeze, it seems the government will continue to put off enforcing the demolition orders.



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