Legal Forum: ´Unauthorized Outposts´ Are Legal Communities

The Land of Israel Legal Forum says that most of the Jewish civilian outposts in Judea and Samaria deemed "unauthorized" are, in fact, legal.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 9/4/2006, 1:10 PM / Last Update: 9/3/2006, 6:52 PM

A group of legal experts called the the Land of Israel Legal Forum says that most of the Jewish civilian outposts in Judea and Samaria deemed "unauthorized" are, in fact, perfectly legal. The Legal Forum has submitted an official request to present its findings to the Ministerial Committee on Outposts.

The story began in March 2005, when former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department Talia Sasson released a report that declared some 150 outlying Jewish neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria illegal. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon commissioned the report, which led to demands from within and from without Israel to expel the Jewish residents and destroy their homes.

In a recent development, Haaretz newspaper reported that the Justice Ministry would soon present the relevant Ministerial Committee with a proposal whereby many of the civilian communities in question would be legalized and assisted. Attorney Talia Sasson, in turn, requested to appear before the committee to argue that the Jewish civilian outposts have no legal standing.

The Legal Forum is requesting equal treatment in order to present committee members with their claim that the communities are “fully authorized.”

Though according to the Sasson Report, the establishment of an outpost requires government approval, such a regulation was not put in place until December 6th, 2004, when Attorney General Menachem Mazuz issued the directive. Until then, the Legal Forum says, the status of an outpost was regulated in accordance with Government Resolution 150 from August 2, 1996, which stipulated that the Defense Minister had the jurisdiction to authorize new outpost communities.

Nearly all of the Jewish neighborhoods deemed "unauthorized" by Talia Sasson were established before Mazuz’s 2004 stipulation and are, therefore, legally authorized, according to the Land of Israel Legal Forum. “It seems that Atty. Sasson was trying to enforce legal directives against communities that were already in existence before the new guidelines were issued,” a Forum statement said.