Netanyahu: We’ll convert three outposts to new settlements

A West Bank settler gazes at an outpost due to become a settlement. (Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that the government is going to transform three West Bank outposts—Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana—into new settlements.

These outposts are not new or of questionable legality. All of them were established over a decade ago on state land, but were not authorized as settlements (the last authorized settlement, Negahot, was created in 1999). Rehalim was created in 1991, Sansana in 1997, and Bruchin in 1999.

Also on Wednesday, Netanyahu said he would not evict the occupants of five apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost, which is also built on land on the outskirts of Beit El and seems likely for future authorization.

“The principle that has guided me is to strengthen Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said. “Today, I instructed that the status of three communities—Bruchin, Sansana, and Rehalim—be provided for,” he said.

“I also asked Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to see to it that the Ulpana hill in Beit El not be evacuated,” he said.

In a speech at Bar-Ilan University in the summer of 2009, Netanyahu declared:  “We have no intention to build new settlements or set aside land for new settlements.” On Wednesday he publicly declared his intention to legalize three West Bank outposts by making them into new settlements.

“Netanyahu is trying to satisfy the settlers and to give them a compensation prize for the evacuation of Hebron and the pending evacuation of Migron,” Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer said.

The issue of the Ulpana is different, he said. The High Court of Justice has ruled that the government must demolish 30 unauthorized homes there by the end of the month.

Netanyahu has asked Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein to examine the legal issues involved in authorizing Sansana, Bruchin, and Rehalim before their authorization is brought to a cabinet vote. Weinstein, in turn, has asked the National Security Council to review the issue.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Office noted that the Ulpana issue is currently being weighed by the High Court of Justice, which has also requested Weinstein’s opinion on the matter.