Israel's AG at Odds With Defense Minister's Demand to Legalize West Bank Outpost

Defense Minister Ya'alon says Mitzpeh Kramim deserves legal status as it was constructed on grounds of authorized settlement nearby; court scheduled to deliberate Palestinian petition against construction.

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon have reached a clashing point regarding the legalization of a West Bank outpost built on private Palestinian land northeast of Ramallah.

Ya'alon is defending the legalization of Mitzpeh Kramim on the basis that a construction plan drafted for the nearby Kohav Hashahar settlement, which was established in 1999 and sits about 700 meters away, includes the outpost.

Some 20 structures have been built in Mitzpeh Kramim over the last year. The outpost has been slated for evacuation, but no timetable has been set.

Residents of a nearby Palestinian village have petitioned the High Court of Justice against the construction, and deliberations on the matter have been scheduled for next week.

Representatives of the defense ministry and the justice ministry held a meeting to that regard about 10 days ago, to prepare the state's response to the court.

While Ya'alon believes the outpost deserves legalization, Weinstein and the state prosecution's department handling High Court appeals are opposed.

After the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the matter, Haaretz learned that the prosecution asked to postpone the deliberations by 60 days.

The Justice Ministry said in response to request for a comment that it would "not discuss the content of the deliberations on the petition. The state's stance will be submitted in an acceptable fashion to the court."

The defense minister's spokesman said in response: "Mitzpeh Kramim is a neighborhood authorized for settlement in 1999 by Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak."

The Mitzpe Kramim settlement.Credit: Michal Fattal

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