Netanyahu Orders to Connect 12 Illegal Outposts to Electrical Grid, a Week to Israeli Election

Settlement activists welcome further move towards normalization of West Bank outposts, but the timeline for actual delivery is uncertain

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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Benjamin Netanyahu in Har Homa, south of Jerusalem, February 20, 2020
Benjamin Netanyahu in Har Homa, south of Jerusalem, February 20, 2020Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered 12 illegal Israeli outposts in the West Bank to be connected to Israel's electrical grid on Monday, one week before an unprecendeted third election.

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The outposts are Nofei Nehemia, Havot Yair (Yair Farm), Hill 851, Maoz Zvi, Shaharit, Pnei Kedem Farm, Tekoa D, Negohot Farm, Avigayil, Asa'el, Esh Kodesh and Ahiya.

In his statement, Netanyahu demanded the connection happen immediately, a move supported by the acting Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, Ronen Peretz, and the adviser for settlement affairs to the defense minister, Avi Roee.

In practice, however, the approval of the Israeli military's Civil Administration, which deals with civilian matters in the West Bank, is required. The connection will be made according to the schedule that the Administration will outline.

Netanyahu is currently neck and neck in the polls with his main rival Benny Gantz from the Kahol Lavan alliance. Both leaders have campaigned with minority groups, and settlers, most of them religious Zionists, are a crucial constituency in Netanyahu's potential right-wing coalition.

According to data published by NGO Peace Now, which monitors settlement activity, there are currently 121 illegal outposts in the West Bank. 

David Elhayani, head of the umbrella settlement body Yesha Council, welcomed the announcement. "This is an important step for the benefit of young communities that have been suffering from electricity problems for years," he said, "and will now be able to receive electricity, just like any other citizen in the country."

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